Make: Volume 63 — AI or Die

Artificial intelligence will power the next generation of inventions, and we want it to be accessible to everyone. In this issue, we look at AI-focused, maker-accessible boards that are pushing the AI world forward; and we show how you can use AI tools in your next project. We also look at the latest electronics prototyping tools from companies like Texas Instruments, Adafruit, SparkFun, and more. Our Board Guide will help you spec out the perfect brain for your project.

You’ll also find 15 projects in this issue, including:

  • Shoot-and-print photos with an adorable SelfieBot
  • Construct a DIY waterjet cutter for under $1,500
  • Build a scanner to spot gas station credit card skimmers
  • Create custom swag with a desktop cutter
  • and more!

ON THE COVER: Lisa and Mike Winter face off in a robot battle of machine vs. human control

Table of Contents


Reader Input

Notes from readers like you.Page 05

Welcome: DIY AI

Successful machine learning is based on experiential learning, the same kind that we recognize in makers.Page 06

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 08


Where There’s Smoke

The Flaming Lotus Girls’ dazzling oversized art has been firing up crowds for 18 years.Page 14

Clothes Minded

The wildly varying ideas between DIY and consumer “wearable electronics” need to converge. Page 16

Cardboard Control

Combining analog making with digital play, Nintendo Labo celebrates the joy of discoveryPage 18

Maker ProFile: Tailoring Tech

MakeFashion inspires women to challenge the status quo of wearables.Page 19

Get Smart

Get Smart

New AI-capable boards are ready to power the next generation of maker inventions, and now is the perfect time to get started.Page 20

How to Build an AI Robot

Want your hightech project to gain intelligence? This overview explains the steps.Page 22

Metal Meets Mettle

Lisa Winter uses decades of bot battle experience to help save the world.Page 26

Rochambeau Bot

Teach your Mycroft Mark 1 voice assistant to engage in the oldest game on the playground.Page 28

The Standouts

Need a solid controller for your next project? Keep these new boards on your radar.Page 30

Blastoff with LaunchPad

Get to know the Texas Instruments microcontrollers.Page 34

Brains on Board

These three kits can help connect your electronics project to powerful AI.Page 36

Follow the Leader

An array of sensors and a powerful but makerfriendly brain let the Skydio R1 drone track you anywhere. Page 38


Photo Op SelfieBot

Shoot and instantly print images with this adorable camera.Page 40

Skim Scam Scanner

Build a dashboard gadget that scans constantly for potential gas pump card skimmers.Page 44

Hue’ve Got the Look

Control the color of these LED party shoes and matching bracelet wirelessly with Adafruit’s handy app.Page 46

Hella Fast Holograms

Use a laser and special film to create your own instant 3D images.Page 50

Get Your Motor Runnin’

Beginners, start using electric motors for real robots!Page 54

Amateur Scientist: Mini Distance Detectors

Two tiny IR sensors that let your project locate nearby objects.Page 56

Save Face

Hold wood trim to the face of a workpiece with this clever bar clamp attachment.Page 60

Electronic Fun and Fundamentals: A Logical Oscillator

Skip the 555 and create audio frequencies using an inverter chip instead.Page 62


Construct a braille embosser for a fraction of the cost of commercial machines.Page 66

True Grit

Build an abrasive waterjet cutter from a home pressure washer for under $1,500.Page 68

Skill Builder

Tablet Teardown

Just what’s inside those Wacoms and Huions, and how can you use them in projects?Page 70

Short Cuts

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your miter saw..Page 72

Stick Out

Create custom sticker swag with a desktop cutter.Page 74



Gear up with reviews of the latest tools and kits for makers.Page 78

Show & Tell

Show & Tell

Dazzling projects from inventive makers like you.Page 80