Glowing Lightsaber Cake

Lorenzo Wood has had experience making cakes with light-up stands, so he wanted to try putting lights into a cake for once. Wanting to have the lights work themselves into the actual design of the cake, he chose Cake Topper Designs’ Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens movie poster topper and customized things so that both Kylo Ren’s and Finn’s lightsabers would light-up and glow. It looks really cool.

The lights are strips of Neopixels attached to thin card backed with baking parchment. A flying lead with a JST-ST connector goes through a hole in the baseboard to a controller based on a Pololu A-Star 32U4 Micro,” Wood said. “The lighting board sits in the icing, and an inkjet printed cake topper sits on top.”


Get Kids Making Early

Ever hear of Loot Crate? The company is pretty prevalent within both the geek and nerd communities. They send out a monthly box full of a random assortment of books, comics, figures, and other goodies for a pretty cheap price. It’s a very successful business model that many have tried to replicate. A favorite of mine, Kiwi Crate, has taken this subscription box method and reinvented it for young makers.

Subscribers can sign up to receive a monthly crate of toys, projects, books, magazines, or videos specifically aimed at inspiring the next generation to become scientists, artists, and makers. The service will only set you back about $18 a month for each crate.

The Koala Crate is geared towards toddlers ages 3-4 and contains toys and games that inspire a younger mind to associate the act of learning with feelings of fun and joy. The company’s big seller, the Kiwi Crate, is for kids ages 5-8 and houses elementary science and art projects to help kids start making early.

The Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate were created to satisfy the intellectual curiosity of the kids who grew up on Kiwi Crate’s service. The former is aimed at improving skills in design (from painting techniques to craft projects) and the latter provides science and engineering projects (like building your own trebuchet or hydraulic claw). Both are for ages 9-16.

Not content to sit back on the successes of these first four crates, Kiwi Crate just released another one called the Cricket Crate. Aimed at newborns ages 4-36 months, this crate contains books and products that will help stimulate the creative problem solving part of a baby’s brain while rewarding an infant’s innate curiosity.

I was talking with two friends of mine a while back, and we all admitted to each other that we struggled to find avenues to improve our creative passions until we got to college. There just isn’t space in the public school education system for creative exploration, and after school clubs can be so hit-or-miss. I’m a little disappointed that nothing like Kiwi Crate existed while I was growing up.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is a week away! We hope you didn’t forget, but just in case, I got a small “guide” for you. This list is nowhere near as extensive as our Mother’s Day Gift Guide (which you may want to check out as there are plenty of great gifts over there), but these ideas should help if you’re totally lost and looking for inspiration.

These printable Father’s Day beer glass decals are pretty fast and easy to make. If your dad doesn’t drink, the decals can just as easily be customized to create coaster tags. Everyone needs a good coaster.

This recipe for homemade barbecue sauce is for those of you who need something absolutely last minute. It takes 30 minutes to make.

If all else fails, we have a list of 20 different projects you can do with Dad on Father’s Day. Maybe it screams last minute, but dads don’t care. They just love that you took the time out of your day to hang out with them. Isn’t that better than a gift?


Gamers Meet Developers at E3

I always wonder what non-gaming companies think in mid-June, when there is an annual dip in the amount of people they are reaching via social media. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the largest video game industry event of the year, and the amount of announcements, trailers, and technology that comes out of the hundreds of developers and journalists, and then reposted by hundreds of thousands of fans dozens of times, means that most search engine analytics and trending hashtags temporarily shift toward video game related content.

This year (June 10-15) is going to be even crazier, as E3 will be open to the public for the first time in…ever. Normally, the event is closed to developers and invited industry leaders, but this year the Entertainment Software Association (which organizes the event) decided to sell an extra 15,000 tickets that anyone could buy. It will be fascinating to see whether or not this is a colossal failure or a tremendous accomplishment. It’s going to be one or the other, and it will determine whether or not E3 ever goes public again.

Gamers around the world are ecstatic for the opportunity to see, and hopefully interact with, the developers that make one of the largest growing forms of entertainment in the world, as well as the creators that are implementing new forms of technology for unique styles of gameplay. They will also get to try some of these new technologies and games months (possibly years) before they are released to the general public. I personally cannot wait, and will be on the show floor June 14-15.