Turn your iPhone into a microscope for $10

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Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/MAKE
Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/Make

Taking macros of your monitor or American Apparel hoodie with your iPhone is so last year.

A Make Magazine tutorial shows you how to make a powerful microscope with up to 375x magnification using just your iPhone, a clear plastic panel, a piece of plywood and some inexpensive hardware.

If you’re a DIY-er that knows how to drill holes and take apart a laser pointer on a keychain, you could be taking super up-close pictures of cricket legs and your cat’s tongue before you know it.

Help NASA solve space’s mysteries with this asteroid app

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The Big Dipper rises behind the Catalina Sky Survey  telescope. Photo: Catalina Sky Survey/University of Arizona
The Big Dipper rises behind the Catalina Sky Survey telescope. Photo: Catalina Sky Survey/University of Arizona

There are millions of asteroids in the Solar System and relatively few astronomers to track them. They’d hate to miss that one dangerous rogue headed on a collision course with Earth.

So NASA has made it easier for the amateur stargazer to record and compare their discoveries and put extra eyes on the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

NASA and Planetary Resources Inc. have developed a computer program that is based on an algorithm that analyzes images for potential asteroids. The new asteroid hunting application, available for free download here, was announced Sunday by NASA at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

New snail species is so punk, it’s named after Joe Strummer

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Rock the snail shell. Photo: Shannon Johnson/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Rock the snail shell. Photo: Shannon Johnson/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

This deep sea snail is covered in spikes, has purple blood and lives in the most extreme ocean environments. So of course the scientists that discovered it had to name it after their favorite punk rocker, Joe Strummer of The Clash.

In a study cleverly named “Molecular taxonomy and naming of five cryptic species of Alviniconcha snails (Gastropoda: Abyssochrysoidea) from hydrothermal vents,” researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute detail five new species of snails, one of which gained the scientific name A. strummeri to honor The Clash frontman.

DIY electric train lets you build your own Polar Express

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Transform copper wire, magnets and a battery into a simple electric train. Screen grab from Amazing Science YouTube video
Transform copper wire, magnets and a battery into a simple electric train. Screengrab: Amazing Science

For the kid expecting a Lionel model train set under the Christmas tree, unwrapping a pack of copper wire, a couple of magnets and a battery is sure to disappoint.

But show them how to make a train out of those items, and you just might spark their curiosity and instill a love of science. Now that’s a gift — here’s how it works.

An iPad filled with apps weighs more than one with nothing installed

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Photo: Apple
An iPad filled with apps weighs more.

Which weighs more? An iPad filled with media and apps, or an iPad with no media or apps installed?

It sounds like a trick question — the digital age equivalent of “What weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?”

But surprisingly, an iPad without anything installed on it does weigh less than an iPad that is full.

RoboRoach Lets Kids Turn Real Cockroaches Into iPhone-Controlled Cyborgs

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Robots are pretty cool, but have you ever wanted to create your own iPhone controlled cyborg? Backyard Brains is banking that a lot of kids are interested in cyborg technology and neuroscience (ethical dilemmas be damned), so after three years of R&D they’ve come up with the RoboRoach – a small electronic surgery kit that lets you turn a real-life cockroach, into an iPhone-controlled cyborg for a few minutes.

The kit comes with a backpack that contains a battery and receiver you superglue to the cockroach after sanding down a patch of shell.  You have to jab a groundwire into the cockroaches thorax, and then after that you carefully trim the antenna so you can stick some small electrodes onto both of them and receive signals from your iPhone. Don’t worry, the iPhone app and the cockroaches come free with the $99 kit, so you don’t have to go hunting for some behind your supermarket’s dumpster.

Vaavud Wind-O-Meter Measures, Magically, With Magnets

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Vaavud-Closeup-carbon

Usually when we mention a Kickstarter project it’s with a mixture of excitement (because it’s like a totally cool product) and disappointment (because it will usually be at least half a year before we see a product, if ever).

However, some of these products make it into stores. The Vaavud is one. It’s a no-power wind-meter which you can buy today.

Scientist Transforms iPhone Into A Microscope Using Lens That Only Costs 7 Bucks

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All it takes is some double sided tape and a $7 lens to turn your iPhone into a microscope

Add microscopes to the list of things your iPhone can replace. A group of scientist visiting Tanzania were able to convert their iPhone 4S into a microscope using nothing by a $7 lens, some double sided tape, and a torch.

After macgyvering the iPhone 4S into a microscope, the scientest then used it to take pictures of stool samples to determine the presences of eggs in some schoolchildren. Amazingly, the iPhone picked up 70 percent of the infections.

Photojojo’s $20 iPhone Polarizer, And Why You Want It

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Question: What’s the only (non-gimmicky) photographic filter that can’t be duplicated in software? That’s right, you smart genius you! It’s the polarizer. A polarizer will do two things for your photography: it’ll increase the saturation of the colors in your pictures, and it’ll cut out unwanted reflections from glass and water. And Photojojo will now sell you one that’ll clip right onto your iPhone.