Tag Archives: electronics

CircEat: Edible Solder

Prototyping circuits on breadboards is always frustrating for me.  I’ve never been a master of fine motor control, and I have a hard time getting tiny pins and wires into the right row of minuscule holes.  I thought it would be easier if I had some kind of putty, like Play-Doh, but conductive: then I could just take a lump of the stuff and stick everything that I wanted wired together into the lump, without straining my eyes and fingers.  There are thermal putties and conductive adhesives that could probably be adapted for this purpose, but after looking around for some options, I decided it would be easiest just to make it for myself, and so I started searching out Play-Doh recipes.

Ultimately, the easiest one to make turned out to be ItsYourDime’s edible peanut butter play dough recipe on Instructables.  Soon, however, I realized that this recipe actually presented a challenge: I love peanut butter, and if that’s what my putty was going to be made of, I wanted to be able to eat it at the end.  That meant that I was going to have to make it conductive without making it gross or poisonous.  I needed a conductive but edible ingredient to blend into the peanut butter.  The solution, of course, was graphite powder.  Graphite is flavorless and it’s just carbon, so eating it shouldn’t have any harmful side effects; after checking the materials safety data sheet to make sure, I set to work.  The recipe is after the jump.

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VeraciT, the Lie Detector Shirt

Your friends never believe the things you say, and you want to prove once and for all that you’re for real.  The solution?  Obviously you should build a lie detector into your shirt.  Allow me to introduce VeraciT: the t-shirt that’s also a lie detector.

Okay, so it’s not really a full-on polygraph, since all it measures is galvanic skin response, and in any case polygraphs can’t actually detect lies.  But at least it looks kinda cool, if I may say so myself.

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Music By Any Means Necessary

I recently completed a long-standing goal: I shelled out for an Arduino Duemilanove, got my hands on some components, and built some stuff.  Toy Project #1 was the Photoflexophone, perhaps the least practical musical instrument ever invented.  Have a look:

The button on the breadboard selects between the photoflexophone’s three modes: light, flex, and off.  The off mode is the most important, since the thing makes infuriating noises if you leave it on.  The other two modes allow you to produce different pitches either by shining varying amounts of light on the photocell or by bending the flex sensor.  If you change the flex sensor out for a thermistor, you can also play it by altering the ambient temperature in the room.  If there’s ever been an instrument controlled by anything less practical than ambient temperature, I’d desperately love to hear about it.

At the moment it plays notes in the A minor harmonic scale, but it can play in any mode or just a continuous range of pitches.  The sound all comes from a piezo, though, so it’s pretty terrible.

Ingredients: Arduino, breadboard, flex sensor, light-sensitive resistor, push button, piezo element, a few ordinary resistors, and a whole bunch of jumper cables.

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