Accessibility ProjectsMusic therapy is a way to reach cognitively challenged kids, but some use the equipment harder than it was ever intended to endure.
The Tough Pi-ano was built to be exceptionally durable, and the parts were easily replaceable.
I built a Tennis Ball Launcher for a friend with arthritis who had trouble playing fetch with his dog at the park. He could load it without putting any strain on his wrists. Tennis Ball Launcher on Instructables.
I built the Vibrating Distance Sensor as an intuitive way to navigate a room without seeing. Everyone who tried it, immediately understood the interface of a flashlight and closed their eyes to walk around the room. Vibrating Distance Sensor on Instructables.
Educational ProjectsMy most popular Instructable was my Conductive Paint Experiment. This project allowed for anyone to make their own conductive paint for drawing functional circuits. I only used products available at hardware stores and demonstrated the scientific method in my recipe comparisons. Conductive Pain on Instructables.
I created an electronics project to share at a small tech conference to teach people some basic circuits and Arduino programming. I was inspired by a project from an issue of MAKE magazine that measured distance and used servos to press on a user's hands to give them a SONAR sense.
Tool ProjectsMy resin printer is terrific, but sometimes I need to instantly harden resin or tack a few pieces together, so I bought a UV laser module and printed a platform to hold a switch and battery. My UV pen was like a soldering iron for printer resin.
I wanted a portable DC power supply so I built a frame from around my power tool batteries from laser-cut wood and metric hardware. I used a barrel connector as the output, which was convenient for assembly and portability.
I did not receive much musical education in school, so to teach myself I started a series of projects I called Electronic Wind Chimes. The projects leveraged pseudo-random numbers to generate MIDI notes and exciting sound scapes. It might be a stretch to call it music, but it kept the room lively.
The fourth version of the Electronic Wind Chimes featured built-in speakers, a laser-cut acrylic face, a percussion soundboard, and soundscapes designed for video game background music. This generator helped win a hackathon with a cash prize.
The EWC_OST or "Electronic Windchimes - Original Soundtrack" played instruments at a preset volume and probability based on a pair of sliders. I can switch between these "moods" gradually or abruptly and create a dynamic story on the fly.
I made a drum machine, which capitalized on pseudo-randomization and lots of lights. I installed the components in a Dungeons and Dragon lunch box which could still close with everything inside, so it was portable! I even ran a TikTok channel for this instrument.
I designed another lunch box that played melody instruments. The focus this time was to design one that I could quickly reproduce and combine them as an orchestra where each instrument acted independently.
I find music from my Electronic Windchimes relaxing, so I wanted a convenient way to play it anytime. The EWC_Box was a battery-powered boombox and the first to integrate pseudo-random melodic instruments with pseudo-random drum beats in one machine.
The Stepped Tone Generator by Forest Mims III came out in 1984 and has been copied many times, often under the name Atari Punk Console. I have never seen an Atari Punk Console made with long touch resistors, so I changed that.
Keyboard ProjectsI built a couple of chording keyboards. A wooden keyboard and a 3D printed keyboard. They used the same switch configuration so their hardware was interchangeable. Chording keyboards use button combinations to type instead of individually-lettered buttons.
The ModuKey project was an experiment in creating versatile PCBs that could be assembled by amateurs to create unique keyboards. I built a 40% keyboard split for ergonomics to test the hardware, and it became one of my favorite keyboards.
My Back of the Hand Keyboard was a wearable input device that would not interfere with regular work. I could wirelessly trigger macros on my laptop while testing hardware connected to the computer.
I desperately wanted wearable computers to leap forward, but typing while standing is tricky and I never got the hang of chording keyboards. I built a Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard I could wear and operate like a keytar. The function keys on my left hand opened typing layers for macros and numpad access. Wearable QWERTY Keyboard on Instructables.
I had a whimsical idea for a puzzle box inspired by a cryptex, which looked like elaborate bicycle locks. My design arranged 36 keyboard keys and mechanical keyswitches in a cylinder. I installed a battery so people could freely handle it and enjoy the satisfying clicks. The light on top indicates puzzle status.
Some of my earliest projects were building longboards. I had limited access to tools, so to make a stiff board more flexible, I added a series of holes with a drill press. The outermost holes happen to form a handle, which is a design I have since seen on commercial boards.
As a fun weekend project, I made a dice box. It was intended to be a fancier-than-necessary way to carry my dice, but it needed a twist to make it stand out. I integrated a dice tower to give it functionality.
AI artwork was starting to look cool, but less than a year after I did this card game, the improvement was already noticeable. Distorted Mansion was a cooperative game where players tried to escape a haunted house. They drew cards to find clues to solve a myster while dodging monsters.
I have always loved the idea of electric skates, but the commercial versions were sketchy, expensive, or both. I built a pair with the powered wheel from an electric scooter. It worked and even had brakes, but they were ludicrously tall.
I have worked toward a haptic mechanical compass since 2014, but I made an oversized proof-of-concept in 2023 that was roughly the size of a baseball. When I faced north and jostled the device, I felt feedback. The next step is making a wearable version.
Hot BeveragesAs a scatterbrain, I forget about my tea. This device pulled the tea bag out, and even shakes it off, after steeping. Since different teas brew for different times, there is a knob on the 3D Printed Automatic Tea Maker to change the duration and tea type. Automatic Tea Maker on Instructables.
The Drip Coffee Maker brought light metal working together with basic carpentry for an antique-look coffee maker that makes tasty coffee. This is probably the fanciest project I made.