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    10 Coolest Hackdesign Inventions

    Hackdesign blends the traditional do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos with a hacker mentality and reliance on open source technologies, achieving new levels of sophistication and creativity of applications. The following inventions are fueling the cultural energy of hackdesign. If you’d like to learn more about hackdesign, read our Fall 2012 Hackdesign Deep Dive Report at

    1. Exploding Watermelon With Your Mind

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    Games played by using your hands are so last year – why not explode watermelons ... with your mind? A Kentucky-based hackerspace turned a modified Star Wars Force Trainer toy into a melon-blasting machine. The hacker group LVL1 modified the toy to be able to trigger a desired event using headgear that detects adequate brain activity. In the group’s first project, Mind over Melons, the device is connected to an air compressor that turns a watermelon into bits.

    2. Kinect-Powered Email

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    One hacker, Chad Rubles, created an email interface based on the Kinect system that allows his mom, suffering from aphasia - a disorder caused by stroke that impairs the language centers of the brain - to do the impossible: send simple emails to her friends and family. According to, the user interface consists of a virtual dashboard featuring emoticons, a series of intensity buttons, a green arrow and a red x. The user selects one of the available nine emotions and the level at which they feel that emotion, which generates and sends an email with the arrow. The red button allows the user to refresh the dashboard, and all of this is controlled using simple gestures.

    3. Makedo: Transforming Trash Into Toys

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    MakeDo, created in Australia, is now making its way to the United States to help kids turn trash into toys. The idea behind MakeDo is to inspire creativity and curiosity by letting kids build toys from recycled cardboard boxes. A blog on demonstrates finished MakeDo products such as functional furniture, sculptures, foosball tables and expressive fashions.

    4. TechShop Enables Creativity & Innovation

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    Described as a "Kinko's for makers," TechShop is a workshop that offers members access to hi-tech tools, equipment, instruction and a supportive community. A wide variety of systems, from 3D printing to woodworking tools to electronics design supplies, make it the ultimate accessible playground for those looking to create and hack.

    5. Evan’s Lightning McQueen - Toy Turned Racecar

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    A Lightning McQueen Powerwheel was tricked out with real tires and metal rims, a 500 watt, .66 horsepower electric motor, disc brakes and more. Over the course of a few weeks the toy was transformed into a speedy mini racecar.

    6. 3D Gun Printing With Wiki Weapon

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    A new project called Wiki Weapon is looking to prototype the world's first fully printable gun. Initial experiments have demonstrated its feasibility, but regulating the process may prove challenging.

    7. RoboDoc Comforts Children During Doctor Visits

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    Recently, the inventor of RoboDoc took his 14-month-old daughter to the pediatrician for a routine checkup. During the examination, the doctor needed to measure the child’s pulse and quickly clamped an infrared heart rate monitor onto her finger. The child became scared and started to cry. In order to reach an infant’s heart rate without frightening her, the inventor designed a funny robot in 100 hours for just $100.

    8. iTypeWriter Mixes Refreshed Classics With Innovation

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    Designer Austin Yang has mixed archaic and cutting edge technologies with the invention of the iTypewriter. Aiming to create an object imbued with memory that offers a more physical experience, the hybrid device could be useful to users unfamiliar with touchscreens.

    9. Super Angry Birds Slingshot Controller Is A Combo of Tangible & Intangible

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    By hacking a motorized fader such as those found in audio mixing consoles, a class at CIID created a force feedback USB controller for Angry Birds that simulates the feeling of a slingshot. This device can control the pull and angle of the slingshot as well as the trigger that activates the special power of the foul fowl.

    10. Hacked Glasses Translate Foreign Languages Into Subtitles In Real-Time

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    Inspired by Google’s Project Glass, Will Powell rigged Vuzix 1200 Star glasses to translate a foreign language and provide subtitles for the wearer.  This technology is able to break down language barriers, enabling the wearer to have a real-time conversation with someone speaking another language.

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