Jordan Jones

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Build Your Own Photo Booth

Plus! A 1932 DIY pocket camera from the pages of Popular Science"<p>NOW: INSTAGRAM PHOTO BOOTH<p>Alexander Morris lugged a camera around everywhere during high school, making him the unofficial class photographer. Even after he graduated last year, his alma mater in Antrim, Northern Ireland, asked him to …

How To Turn Your Camera Into A Photosynthesis Detector

In about an hour, you can hack a camera to only display blue, green, and near-infrared light, which will give you a lovely view of plant life.<p>Members of Public Lab, an online civic science community, wanted to build an inexpensive tool to measure plant health. Their solution: convert an obsolete …

Turn Your Smartphone Into A Digital Microscope

More like cell-fies! Ha ha, right? Right?<p>Do you have $10 and a few minutes and a burning need for a microscope? You do.<p><i>But why would I need a microscope?</i> you say.<p>You do! Examine plant cells, check out the sharpness of your knives, or just take some awesome photos. It's easy to make and looks rad …

How To Generate Electricity With A Bicycle [Video]

DIY hurricane survival<p>Hurricane Sandy left 7 million people without power. Chris Hackett, a Brooklyn-based artist who converts trash into useful objects, wants to help people prepare for the next power outage by teaching the finer points of homemade generator construction. In just under six …

Build A Smartphone Scanner To Digitize Your Notes

Got 30 minutes and $5? Then you can add those scribbled notes to your phone.<p>Graphic designer Giovanni Re likes to scribble his many ideas and drawings in paper notebooks. He also wants digital access to them, so Re built an inexpensive scanner using his iPhone. A stand positions the phone’s camera …

Build A DIY Soldering Stencil Out Of A Soda Can

A cheap way to make clean electronics<p>Taking an electronics prototype to the next level often means soldering tiny components onto a custom-printed circuit board. Solder paste applied without a stencil, however, can ooze, cause shorts, and end a project in flames. Systems engineer Felix Rusu devised …

The Hand Tool Family Tree [Infographic]

For any kind of caliper you want<p>So you misplaced your screwdriver, or vernier caliper, or veiner gouge. The worst, right?<p>If only everything were as organized as this ridiculously comprehensive infographic of more than 300 hand tools, from the common to the, uh, extensive sub-family of various hand …

A Family Built This Museum-Quality Curiosity Rover

You can barely tell the difference between it and the real thing.<p>When Camille Beatty was 10 years old, she dismantled a TV remote and handed the parts to her surprised father, Robert. Next came a string of questions about the circuitry. “I got to a point in my life where electronics seemed magical, …

Make An LED Holiday Light Out Of Pennies

And a lemon, and some other stuff. But mostly pennies.<p>Skip the tangled strings of holiday lights this year and go wireless using a few copper-coated cents. U.S. pennies minted since 1982 conceal a zinc core. If exposed to acid, the zinc dissolves and frees electrons for use in a circuit. The …

A Toy Box That's Opened By A Kid's Fingerprint

Starting 'em young on biometric scanning.<p>Four-year-old Ewan Gibson loves toy cars. His dad, Grant, a Scottish Web developer, prefers electronics. Hoping to find common ground—and inspired by Apple’s new finger-scanning iPhone—Grant built a biometric lockbox for his son’s cars. He installed a sensor …

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Use A Power Drill To...

With great power, comes great responsibility.<p>Clean the Bathroom (Good Idea)<p>Like scrubbing bathtubs? Neither do we, so cut the required elbow grease with a power scrubber. Drill through the center of a circular tub brush. Then drive a threaded bolt through the hole so the threaded end pokes out of …

Light Up Your Love Life With A DIY Electric Valentine

A conductive-ink gift for your sweetheart<p>Conductive inks make it easy to draw circuits on almost any surface, including paper. <i>Popular Science</i> used a carbon-based paint to animate this amorous robot, but other products use emulsified metals, such as silver, to carry a current. Whatever your artistic …

When Disaster Strikes, This Bike Generator Will Give Me Power [Video]

Pedaling consistently churned out about 150 watts.<p>Copper wire ties modern civilization together, but it is fragile thread. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy bathed miles of the electrical conductor in saltwater, severing my Brooklyn neighborhood from the grid. Lower Manhattan—a dense concentration of …

This Electric Sled Is A Miniature Winter Tank

Much better than a trash can lid<p>Introducing Québécois inventor Yvon Martel's most recent creation: this... thing. It's an electric sled/wagon/snow-chainsaw, and based on the video accompanying it, it works surprisingly well.<p>Called the MTT-136 (for My Track Technology, and, I can only presume, the …

Finally, A Strip-Proof Screw

Using your head<p>The common screw may not have been screaming for a makeover, but consider its shortcomings: stripped heads, tedious pilot holes, endless bit swapping. The company Outlaw has developed a new fastening system that cures all those headaches and could unseat the Phillips head as the …

Face-Scanning Kegerator Identifies Which People Are Getting Smashed

The DIY project catches whoever's hogging the tap, and charges for intake accordingly.<p>So you have a Kegerator. Good! This is an economical choice you have made regarding your beer consumption. But you are probably (hopefully) sharing it with others. How can you fairly decide who's spending the …

A Glowing Ring Powered By Body Heat

And how it works<p>Sean Hodgins enjoys ring smithing, a hobby he adopted from his grandpa, and loves building small electronic gadgets. So he combined his passions to make a ring that turns body heat into light. Hodgins milled a two-finger band out of aluminum—an excellent thermal conductor—to cradle …

Build A Lightweight Tent For A Pittance

Shelter for less than $2 per square yard<p>Ultralight tents don’t have to lighten your wallet. Save a bundle of cash by making one from Tyvek. The breathable, water-resistant material, a favorite of home contractors, weighs less than two ounces and costs about $2 per square yard. Here’s how to fashion …

A Wooden Canoe Built By Nick Offerman

Channel your inner Ron Swanson<p>The hustle of Hollywood isn’t exactly conducive to hobbies, especially not a mastery of woodworking. Yet actor and comedian Nick Offerman, known for his role as Ron Swanson on <i>Parks and Recreation</i>, snuck in the time to build this 18 foot-long canoe called Lucky Boy. …

How To Turn A Clothespin Into A Matchstick Gun

Update your desktop arsenal with this creation<p>DIY enthusiast Grant Thompson, who previously made a 10-penny battery that powered a small light for almost two weeks, is at it again. Inspired by another project tutorial, Thompson created seven variations of a mini-pistol that can fire matches over 20 …

This Porsche Hybrid Can Soar Down The Highway Or Efficiently Cruise

Three different modes give the driver of a Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid some nice options.<p>Most hybrid-auto makers have the efficiency thing down, but they still can’t build a high-performance car that’s both fun to drive <i>and</i> efficient. At least, not until now. To create the Porsche Panamera S …

Life With Tesla Model S: Even After Update, Vampire Draw Remains

The Tesla Model S, for all its technical and design artistry, has a dirty little secret: the car has a substantial appetite for kilowatt-hours even when turned off and parked.<p>Since the Model S was introduced in 2012, this "vampire" power drain from the cars sold so far has consumed roughly 15 …

U.S. May Soon Require Cars Be Able To Talk To Each Other

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration missed its own deadlines for making a decision on mandating car-to-car communications, but says it will come soon.<p>Officials will decide in the "coming weeks" whether all new cars in the U.S. must have the technology to communicate with other cars …

CES 2014: Audi's New Headlights Are Laser-Powered [Video]

Yes. Lasers.<p>All this week, we're showing off the coolest, most futuristic, and strangest gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show. Audi's latest concept car uses laser high beams to keep drivers safe on the road. Learn how they work in this video, and be sure to see the rest of our CES coverage …

CES 2014: The First Self-Balancing Electric Skateboard

Good for transportation, but don't try a kickflip<p>Over in the startup section of CES, we found Onewheel, the world’s first self-balancing electric skateboard. All you need to do is step on the board and it will adjust itself automatically to your movements. Leaning forward accelerates the motor and …

The Volkswagen XL1 Is The Most Efficient Car Ever

Drive more than 500 miles on two gallons of fuel<p>For years, automakers have worked to push fuel economy beyond 100 miles per gallon. Reaching that mark typically meant three things: cutting weight, maximizing aerodynamics, and improving powertrain efficiency. In 1999, Volkswagen engineers got close …

The Best Of The 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Our favorite cars from this year's North American International Auto Show<p>At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, the level of exuberance seemed more amped up than in previous years—automakers are throwing it all against the wall to see what awesomeness sticks. With the …

A Transmission That Reads The Road

Coming soon: A car that reads minds.<p>Cars today can see just about anything. They have systems that spot lanes, parked cars, and even animals. But even the best of them can’t do what the new Rolls-Royce Wraith can: The luxury coupe’s transmission predicts and responds to the road ahead.<p>Engineers …

Gallery: An Electric Porsche From 1898

The first car designed by Ferdinand Porsche was actually an electric vehicle.<p>Here's a great piece of bar trivia: The first-ever Porsche was ... an electric car.<p>While any ardent Porschephile knows that the first Porsche-branded vehicle was the 356 sports car of 1948, the first car <i>designed</i> by …

The First Mass-Produced Hydrogen Car

Bye-bye, gasoline!<p>When it comes to alternate energy sources, most automakers think simply—battery power or bust. That’s what makes the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell an outlier. The SUV will be the first mass-produced hydrogen car in the U.S. when it debuts this spring.<p>Because hydrogen fuel …