Mad Science Features

News: This Real-Life, Working WALL-E Robot Is Absolutely Perfect (And Built Entirely from Scratch)

Want to build your own life-sized, working replica of WALL-E? Be prepared to take on a second job! Mike Senna spent two years perfecting his own version, working 25 hours a week and totaling somewhere around 3,800 hours for the whole project. He had no blueprints to go by, so he spent a lot of time watching the movie over and over to get everything just right. The video below shows some of the construction; skip to about the one minute mark to see WALL-E in action.

How To: Send Your Secret Spy Messages Wirelessly Through Light with This DIY Laser Audio Transmitter

Looking to transmit some super-secret audio communications to your other spy buddies? A laser is the perfect tool for getting your sounds heard from a small distance—without anyone intercepting them— even if it's just a cover of your favorite pop song. A laser audio transmitter uses light rather than radio waves to transmit sound. This is a much more secure way to send audio communications because the laser is a focused beam of light, whereas radio waves are not controlled, so they can be pic...

DIY Scientists Beware: When NOT to Use Household Chemicals for Your Projects

The only thing better than successfully pulling off a new experiment is doing it with household materials. You get to laugh in conceit as professional scientists everywhere spend all their grant money on the same project you just accomplished with some under-the-sink chemicals! However, there are times when DIY gets dangerous. Some household chemicals are not pure enough to use and some are just pure dangerous. Let's take a look at two problems I have encountered in the course of mad sciencing.

How To: Make These Sonic Distance Sensors for the Bad Driver in Your Life

Today's fancy cars come with all sorts of options, from power mirrors to working seat belts. Some of us condemned to live in the reality of capitalist recession have no car, or perhaps a very modest one. But your modest car can still have some cutting edge technology wedged into the trunk and dashboard if you know what you want and where to look for parts. Today, we make a parking sensor using a sonic range finder, just like in the vehicles our owners drive!

How To: Make Surface-Mount Electronics at Home for Smaller, Cheaper DIY Gadgets

Whenever we make a homemade circuit, we use what are called through-hole components. Any components with long metal leads is a through-hole component. They are great for soldering to, but it's tough to fit enough through-hole resistors and capacitors into a smartphone. To get those last microns, we have surface-mount components for SMDs (surface-mount devices). These are all of those teeny, tiny things you see when you crack open your digital camera or laptop case.

How To: Find Hidden Blood Splatter Stains on Your Walls with This Infrared Photography Hack

I'm sorry to say, but Dexter Morgan hasn't thought of everything. Just because he's the best blood splatter analyst in the Miami metro area, doesn't mean he can't be taught a thing or two about blood. In fact, I'm sure this is something he'd be glad to know. Spotting a bloodstain is pretty easy at a crime scene, especially when there was no attempt to cover it up. When the scene has been wiped clean, there are still ways for forensic investigators to detect washed away blood, like using a rea...

The Sweet Smell of Success: DIY Smoke Mix with Sugar and Potassium Nitrate

I finally got around to trying out another one of Will's mad science experiments and found out that this one was actually more satisfying (and less frustrating) than my slightly uncooperative jar jet. There's something very pleasing about making potassium nitrate at home in the kitchen and then watching the transformation from semitransparent liquid to spiky, frozen crystals. That was the best part for me, second only to igniting it with its sugar companion.

How To: Make Your Very Own Blinding Sunbeam with a Lithium AA Battery

Taking apart batteries is one of those things that every adult you've ever known has warned you against. Today, we break the taboo and dive into a lithium battery. Lithium has some pretty cool properties—it burns instantly in water and glows blindly bright under flame. And with just one AA battery, you can make a blinding light beam inspiring supernatural awe in all dictatorial adults who doubted you.

How To: Are Your Gadgets Safe from Solar Storms and Nuclear Attacks?

It's September 1st, 1859, and the Earth looks more or less like something out of an apocalyptic movie or Sci-Fi novel. All communications have failed, it's so bright outside at midnight that people are getting up and making breakfast, and people all over the world are seeing auroras. The solar storm that produced the electromagnetic pulse and caused all this mayhem is known as the Carrington Event, and storms like it happen about about once every century.

How To: Build a Bomb-Defusing Robot Tank for the Revolution

War leaves a lot of stuff behind. Torn families, delegitimized institutions, mass graves, and unexploded ordinances litter the post occupation landscape. Whether or not you have driven the imperialist out, or are still in the phase of armed resistance, you will need the ability to safely diffuse bombs. My bomb defusing Silvia-bot can do it all. She can catch grasshoppers, cut wires, collect samples, tase enemies and even play chess! Materials

Contest: Spud Gun

Well here it is, this is an older pic but it still works, the only change from this pic and the current cannon is that I have put some duct tape around the PVC bonds and am planing on spray painting it. The compression chamber is over a foot and a half long at 2" diameter PVC to push the spud or what ever you can out the cannon. The barrel is a little more than a foot long. This was originaly a prototype with all 1" PVC pipe but I cut it all off and attached a few PVC sizers and made the barr...

How To: Want Detailed Flight Data for Your Backyard Rocket? Use Your iPhone

Rockets will always be cool no matter what age you are, and building your own rocket is even better. If you have an iPhone that you aren't afraid to blast off into the sky, then you can try and build your own iPhone Rocket to record and analyze flight data, like Byte Works did. The list of parts is a little hefty, but their blog provides you with all of the information you need to make sure you have everything. The most important thing you need is the sensor tag, so that you can record the am...

News: This 1974 Gas-Guzzling Beetle Is Now an Eco-Friendly Electric "Voltswagon"

Want an electric car without the price tag? You could always build your own, or maybe just hack your old gas guzzler into an eco-friendly electric machine... This weekend at Defcon, security consultant David Brown showed off his "Voltswagon" project, a 1974 Beetle named Shocky that he converted to electric for only $6,000. He removed the old combustion engine, radiator, and a few other unneeded parts to make it lighter. Then he loaded it with batteries front and back, ten Interstate DC-29, 12...