Using a Kinect as an Infrared Camera

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The Kinect is a peripheral for the Xbox 360 console that allows a user to interact with the Xbox 360 without touching a controller. A general description of the Kinect is that it is a depth camera. This means that you can place objects in front of it, and it... Read more »

Extreme LED Throwies

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LED throwies are cheery glow-dots you can make in seconds from simple components and stick to any ferro-magnetic surface. But that’s just the beginning — here’s how to hack and modify them. First make a basic LED throwie, and chain them up into big throwie “bugs.” Then learn to hack... Read more »

Lumia Lunchbox Laser

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Back in the 1970s, my friend Wayne Gillis and I used to do light shows at science fiction conventions. We had the usual panoply of overhead, slide, and custom-made projectors, and a single, very expensive, helium-neon laser from Edmund Scientific. Calling ourselves Light Opera, and later, Illuminatus, we performed at... Read more »

Simple Van de Graaff Generator

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When I was younger, I spent hours perusing Bill Beaty’s electrostatics web pages. At the time, I didn’t achieve any real successes trying to build his high-voltage contraptions, and so my interest waned. Years later, I saw someone online use a soda can as a collector for their Van de... Read more »

Bottle Radio

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Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This “bottle radio” take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the “window of opportunity”... Read more »