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In this installment of the Gift Guide Singularity on MAKE, we’re continuing the countdown of projects that are just as much fun to build and give as they are to receive. So far we’ve seen two complex movers and shakers, the Strandbeest walker robot and the steam-powered BoilerBot, followed by the Vibrati Punk Console.

The projects keep getting easier as xmas looms closer, so I’m bringing you a build even your grandma will appreciate– build the universal TV-B-Gone remote to power down annoying screens at restaurants and other public spaces.

I’ve built and given TV-B-Gones to many family members in the past, and they each love it for a different reason. My mom takes it to Applebee’s and does her own style of culture jamming- getting couples at other tables to stop staring at the pixels and strike up a conversation with one another. My grandma likes it because her hearing aid doesn’t handle ambient TV noise well, and the TV-B-Gone helps her hear the company she’s with. My older brother is a mischievous kid at heart, and so likes the prank aspect of it. (Above: TV-B-Gone tampon case made for myself but co-opted by my mom)

You could just build the TV-B-Gone as per the instructions, wrap it with a bow, and call it a day, or you could go a step further and build an enclosure for the circuit board and batteries. Think about it- won’t those LEDs get bent in your girlfriend’s purse or your dad’s pants pocket? (Above: 3D printed TV-B-Gone enclosure by Catarina Mota)

You could even go all out and build the TV-B-Gone into a hat or jacket! The components aren’t too complicated, so once you solder up a few, you could easily be running a small assembly line and give everyone on your list the gift of a tranquil, teevee-free xmas. Invented by Mitch Altman and developed into a kit by Adafruit Industries, you can feel good about making and giving this piece of open source hardware. Pick up the Super TV-B-Gone kit in the Maker Shed.

In the Maker Shed:

Want more? Stop by the Make Shed. We’ve got all sorts of great holiday gift ideas: Arduino & Arduino accessories, electronic kits, science kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines in December:

December 14 Last Day to place orders shipped via USPS
December 19th Last Day to place orders shipped via 3-Day freight
December 20th Last Day to place orders shipped via 2-Day freight
December 22nd Last Day to place orders shipped via priority overnight Saturday delivery

Note: We guarantee delivery by Christmas when ordering by the above deadlines, except for USPS, where we simply cannot guarantee. However, we feel reasonably certain based on experience that orders placed on that day will be delivered by Christmas via USPS.

And of course, Gift Certificates and MAKE subscriptions are always available – even on Christmas Day!

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site:



  1. Keith says:

    Looks like fun!

    1. Keith says:

      oops I posted on the wrong post. Please award this to some other poster in the unlikely event I get chosen. Thx

  2. Jay says:

    Perfect for the sports bar!

  3. Tj Felty says:

    And another post about a cool gadget in theory, peddled as a way to mess with other peoples property. Just because a person with a high level of self importance doesn’t like the televisions in public accessible spaces does not give them the right to shut them off. As far as the examples given your brother is a dick, your mother should mind her own business, and your grandmother should ask rather than just turn it off.

  4. Nice gift for the holidays, just remember to never use it in a bar unless your ready to get kicked out, get into a fight, or make people go wtf. I could definitely see this being used in other ways as well, might make a nice Make It Louder, Make it Quiet, or Random Channel remote as well.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ooh this would be fun!

  6. afton smith says:

    was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special
    read. I definitely savored every little bit of  it.



  7. Matt says:

    Culture jamming!  I love it…

  8. Timothy Arthur says:

    The end of civilization as we know it…

  9. Melanie Barker says:

    And hilarity ensues… 

  10. This would cause marriage ending arguments in the homes of some friends.  I must have it.

  11. Lori Klemp says:

    Ha ha.  Great!