Spikenzie Labs has a reputation for making innovative, wonderfully designed kits. I’m always excited when I hear they have something new in the works, because I know it’s going to be good! Their two newest kits are no exception. The Telegraph Decoder Kit is a modern twist one of our first forms of electronic communication and a great tool for learning Morse Code. It takes about an hour to solder and can be done by even novice makers. Once the solder cools, just assemble and connect the laser cut acrylic telegraph keyer you’re ready to tap out Morse Code. It takes a bit of practice to get the timing of your ‘dits’ and ‘dahs’ right, but when you do, the corresponding alpha-numeric character will display on the Arduino based reader. Because the kit is Arduino based, it can be hacked using an FTDI breakout (not included) with your own programs from the Arduino IDE. A piezo buzzer provides audio feedback but can put into silent mode for clandestine communications (or to keep from annoying your spouse.)
When was the last time you saw a calculator and thought “wow – that looks cool”? I don’t think I ever thought that until I saw this one. The Calculator Kit is also Arduino based and is housed in transparent acrylic which looks great on any desk. The kit features 17 reverse-raster laser-etched captive buttons which sit atop tactile switches giving a highly addictive “clickly-clicky” sound and feel. The bright red LED display shows the results from your addition, subtraction, multiplication and division operations. I may not have any affection towards my stapler, but this calculator is the new favorite addition to my home office.