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Tinkering Projects

Tinkering Projects

By Astiles  on July 25, 2008

A while back, on the suggestion of friend (and X PRIZE Foundation Board Member) Gregg Maryniak, I picked up a subscription to Make Magazine, a fun, quirky little quarterly for folks who like to tinker with things or who are otherwise part of the Do It Yourself (DIT) community. Now, I haven't done a huge amount of tinkering in a loooooong time (there's just never a soldering iron around when I need one!), but even for folks like me who rarely or never actually build the little gizmos and widgets featured in each issue, it's still fun to flip through and see what things people are up to, and to live vicariously through them for a bit.

The current issue, though, had a few things of particular interest. Not only would these little exercises appeal to just about any DIY-junkie or chronic tinkerer, I think they would also be great tools for anyone who is currently working on, studying, or thinking about the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

The cover story of the current issue promises to let you build your own remote-controlled buggy which can be guided using virtual reality googles. I haven't verified it myself, but the article promises this could be done for about $400 (assuming access to some basic tools), and can be completed in about 5 hours. If I were a Google Lunar X PRIZE Team trying to drum up future customers and get them excited about the possibilities of what could be done with a private lunar rover, I think this would be a great sales tool. Similarly, with a little branding and creativity, it would make a great component of any education and outreach program, I'm sure.

Also in the current issue is another quick DI guide to making digital 3d movies. This one seems a good deal more expensive, though they don't put an estimated price tag on it. Still, I think that this would be a fantastic thing to play with, both as teams look to better control their vehicles and navigate tricky surfaces, and as they investigate possible entertainment and educational off-shoots of their lunar missions.

I don't know if I'll get a chance to put these things together any time soon--but I sure hope that some of you will. If you do, we'd love to hear all about it! Drop us a line and share your story.

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