Book: Geeky Projects for Dads and Kids

Geek Dad Book Just in time for Father’s Day, if your dad is a Geek, “Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share” is a perfect book to gift that will provide you and him hours of entertainment.

Written by the editor of the incredibly popular GeekDad blog on, GeekDad (the book) is the ultimate, idea-packed guide guaranteed to help dads and kids alike enjoy the magic of playtime together and tap into the infinite possibility of their imagination. With illustrations throughout, this book offers projects for all ages to suit any timeframe or budget.

Some projects you can work on include creating Ethernet cuff links, a cyborg jack-o’-lantern, customized comic strip, your own board game, working lamp with LEGOs, the “Best Slip n’ Slide Ever”, fly a night-time kite ablaze with lights or launch a video camera with balloons!

Buy now!
More info from the manufacturer
Price: $16.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

Science: Device converts light into vibration

Recent research over the past few years have shown that light can be converted at least partially into motion, or more specifically vibration. While this seems innocuous, it could open up new ways of performing actions in optical microcircuits.

Physicists at Caltech and Duke University have shown that light could be made to make glass vibrate. They were even able to store a pulse of light traveling down a fiber as a vibration and then release it nanoseconds later.

One application would be to have optical microchips where vibrations or microwaves control high-frequency optical signals or the reverse. Of course, science has a strange way of spawning applications that were not envisioned at the time of discovery.

via ScienceNOW

The future of the mind – uploaded to computers?

H+ Magazine recently interviewed AI researcher, Bruce Katz, who believes that we as a species will ultimately want to be free of the limitations of the human brain, which by extension means uploading our memory and consciousness to a different device, a computer of some sort.

Katz describes the brain as having a kludgy design and lays out those ‘kludges’ in his book, Neuroengineering the Future. They include:

  • Short-term memory limitations (typically seven plus or minus 2 items),
  • Significant long-term memory limitations (the brain can only hold about as much as a PC hard disk circa 1990),
  • Strong limitations on processing speed (although the brain is a highly parallel system, each neuron is a very slow processor),
  • Bounds on rationality (we are less than fully impartial processors, sometimes significantly so),
  • Bounds on creativity (most people go through their entire lives without making a significant creative contribution to humanity), and perhaps most significantly…

It will still be a while before we’re able to do this. Let’s face it, imperfect or not, the human skull does a pretty good job of protecting that delicate piece of meat we call a brain, and we hardly think about it.

Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye – 200x microscope plugs into your TV

Ever wanted a microscope, but didn’t really care to squint through a small eyepiece? Then the Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye is for you. Long name, but it magnifies practically anything up to 200 times its regular size and displays it on your TV screen. It plugs directly into your TV without any software.

Think of it as part of a home science kit; it even comes with an observation dish to better help you position your objects of inquiry.

Sure, it’s geared to kids, but the EyeClops is sure to have adults clamoring to use it.

Buy now!
Price: $29.95
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

Electronic Tongue can identify 14 different types of sweeteners

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a device about the size of a credit card that can ‘taste’ the type of sweetener that is in food or drinks.

It can detect 14 different sweeteners (I can’t even name 6!). While it still takes about 2 minutes for the result, target audiences include diabetics or those watching their sugar intake.

via CNN

Robotics, robots, bots – a pictorial

Robotics research continues unabashedly as the human race strives to capture their essence in machinery, or at least put together a C-3PO! has a great photo essay of all kinds of robots from the recent past, although there seems to be a preponderance of androids.

My favorite is of course, the soccer-playing bot!

Hint: maximize your browser and use the ‘j’ and ‘k’ keys to go back and forth between photos.

Great Pacific garbage Gyre to be studied

Finally. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a huge area in the Pacific Ocean that has a concentration of debris and garbage, particularly plastic. A scientific crew has set off to investigate it in-person.

This trash gyre is not the only one, but it is the largest. Despite the NOAA having predicted its existence over 20 years, this is the first time a real survey is to be conducted. For shame. They don’t even know exactly what they’ll find – a super dense patch of garbage or just the place where the garbage eventually drifts to. Either way, it’s a problem. The plastic is toxic when it degrades and it certainly kills wildlife when they eat it.

IEEE’s Engineering Your World contest – submit your video

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, and one of the things that they are sponsoring is a contest called Engineering Your World where they’re inviting folks to submit videos showing off the use of engineering/technology in enhancing life in fun and/or interesting ways.

The grand prize winner makes off with a $500 gift certificate. Hurry, submissions end July 6. Here is a cheesy, but good example of a video you could submit:

Here’s some guidance:

Videos can be funny: Think Back to the Future’s opening scene, Pee-Wee Herman’s morning breakfast routine and Ferris Bueller’s “I’m still in bed and awfully sick” door-to-mannequin trick, or they can be serious, too, whatever you prefer. IEEE is simply asking people to showcase the cool ways in which they’ve made their lives easier or a little more interesting via innovative thought, engineering and creativity.

Scroll to Top