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How-To: Low-Cost Gyroscopic Camera Stabilizer

DIY gyroscopic camera stabilizer

DIY physics guru David Prutchi coveted one of the expensive professional-grade gyroscopic camera stabilizers made by Kenyon Laboratories. "These devices," he observes, "don’t seem to have changed much since Kenyon’s founder filed the following two patents in the 50′s: US2811042, US2570130." Referencing those patents, David reverse-engineered the basic geometry of... Read more »

Balloon Gripper with Positive Pressure Mode Can “Shoot” as Well as Grab

Jamming "coffee balloon" gripper in grabbing (left) and "shooting" modes.

Last March, roboticist Eric Brown and co-workers at the University of Chicago made headlines with their new, unconventional robot gripper design: a balloon filled with coffee grounds or other grainy material and fitted with a vacuum line. At atmospheric pressure, the balloon is squishy and can be “mushed” around an... Read more »

How-To: Hack a Surplus Plutonium Probe for Military-Grade Gamma Ray Detection

Homemade PDR56F

The late unpleasantness in Japan has recently focused our attention on homemade radiation detectors. These are often lumped together under the term “Geiger counter,” but in fact there is more than one way to skin that particular cat. A “Geiger counter,” formally, is a radation-sensitive instrument that uses a Geiger-Müller... Read more »