Maker Project Lab
January 25, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Asus Tinker Board Challenges Raspberry Pi [Maker Update #18]

This week on Maker Update: the classic bristlebot gets an upgrade, Eagle CAD drops a bomb, ASUS takes on Raspberry Pi, musical domes, hacked Furbys, vape tech, and Chi-town gets a big ol’ Maker Faire.  

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January 18, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Camera Explains Your Picture [Maker Update #17]

This week, an artificially intelligent word camera, the launch of the Pi Compute Module 3 and why it’s ok not to care, a goofy walking Arduino bot, a slot-together octopus lamp, a $20 color-matching laptop light, shop tips, battery tips, and where in the world is this week’s Maker Faire? SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE 

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January 11, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Overwatch Blaster & Star Wars Interfaces [Maker Update #16]

This week on Maker Update! A sonic blaster from Overwatch, the Arduino reconciliation gets real, the BBC Microbit crosses the pond, the demise of 123D, another LED Nixie to consider, 3D printed Amazon Echo accessories, a study Star Wars user interfaces, and upcoming contests from Instructables. SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE

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December 21, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cocktail Robotics and Laser Cats [Maker Update #15]

This week on Maker Update, a Nixie tube alternative for the 21st century, Arduino puts your sketches in the cloud, robot cocktails, laser cats, making it rain, making music, and making the cookies. SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE!

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December 14, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Slice a Raspberry Pi [Maker Update #14]

This week on Maker Update, highlights of the best projects from our WD Labs Raspberry Pi contest, Minecraft in your Pocket, Coding for Medieval Glory, Fish Feeders, Alien Finders, and a maker show to put in your queue. SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE

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December 7, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let Me Give You a Raspberry Pi [Maker Update #13]

This week on Maker Update: making your own 3D printed computer museum, Fusion 360 learns a new trick, a smoking laser sword, a new drawbot, a reason to buy a dental vacuform, and a giveaway for a full Raspberry Pi computer setup from our show sponsor, WD Labs. SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE

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November 30, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time to Print the Ornaments [Maker Update #12]

This week on Maker Update: a payphone that calls the 90’s, a moon for your nightstand, a way to finally get your fish talking, a mini NES with NFC, 3D printed ornaments, a sewing machine for makers, a ridiculous amount of maker contests, and the first Maker Faire in L.A.
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November 29, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News, Tools, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

Hands-On with the Fotokite Phi Drone

About a month ago I got a call from the people behind a drone called Fotokite, wondering if I’d be interested in seeing a demo of their product. I already knew the product pretty well based on a demo of their prototype I was given last year while I was on staff at Make Magazine. With this in mind, I was curious to see how the product had evolved into its final state.

So here are my thoughts based on my hands-on time with the shipping version of the Fotokite Phi, a drone with a thin, strong leash attached to it, selling now for $249.

Fotokite Retractable Leash

The prototype model of this I played with last year had limited features, no camera controls, and a somewhat fragile 3D printed construction — but it was a fun product and the concept was still strong. It’s a fold-up drone you can fit in a backpack and launch in the air in just a minute with no fear of it flying off or getting stuck in a tree.

Fotokite Foldup Design

This final shipping version uses a stronger injection-molded plastic that I bounced off the wall a few times without losing control. It also includes more control features in the handle, which help steer it around and can directly control a GoPro mounted on the front. You have to provide the GoPro, though, so that’s an extra cost. A less expensive GoPro alternative can be substituted in the same space, however you’ll have to operate the controls manually directly on the camera before and after flight.

Fotokite Camera Front

They’ve also included a new follow mode that allows you to just tow this thing behind you while you’re snowboarding or biking or whatever. The included leash extends 25ft, but can be upgraded to 100ft. To hear them tell it, this is a big deal because many of the more expensive drone solutions with follow modes still have a tendency to wander off.

Fotokite Outdoors

All-in-all, I walked away wanting one — not because it’s a drone, but because it’s like a kind of magic kite really. This sounds sorta obvious when you consider the name, but when you first look at this thing it takes a minute to reconcile that it’s not the drone toy you expect it to be — and as someone who’s not a big fan of drones that’s a good thing.

And to be clear, this isn’t a paid endorsement. I just wanted to share my experience because I thought it was pretty cool, and neat to see a unique product go from concept to finished design. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment on the video above.

November 16, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The DIY Nintendo You Really Want [Maker Update #11]

This week on Maker Update: a project for painting the air, a new ally for Maker Spaces, Hackster has a new owner, Make Magazine’s 3D printer shootout, hacking the NES Classic, making your own NES Classic, and Maker Faires.

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November 9, 2016 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Hack Alexa into a Fish [Maker Update #10]

This week on Maker Update: making your own Alexa-Powered Billy Bass, the rise of the modular swarm bots, DIY candy dispensers, 3D printed Thanksgiving accessories, and a good excuse for a blow torch.

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