Neil's News

Cráneo de Cristal

5 October 2008

Every few months I'll get an email from some enthusiastic fan wanting "the plans" for some widget I've built. Amusingly the request is often framed in terms of a different construction method, such as: "Can you send me the plans for your Locraker, but in Lego?" I'll provide what information I have, along with some tips. Invariably the would-be cloner is never heard from again.

[Alexandre Girard] [Plexiglass Brain] Thus when Alexandre Girard contacted me for the source images for last year's wooden brain puzzle, I passed on the data for all 266 tiles along with some tips, but didn't expect to hear anything more. A week later photos of Alexandre's version appeared in my inbox. Instead of wood, he had used 60 plexiglass cubes, then printed the tiles as transparencies. The result is simply stunning.

Check out his assembly photos and closeup photos. With the benefit of hindsight, I think printing the transparencies as negatives might be even better.

Using plexiglass is something I had originally considered, but I was thinking along the lines of using a focused high-power laser to burn holes within the 3D volume of each block. You may have seen such 3D laser crystal souvenirs at tourist shops. However the cheapest manufacturing source I could find would have charged $1800 for the set of 60 cubes. And I couldn't justify the alternate solution of building or buying my own 3D laser engraving machine. However, if anyone has access to such a device, drop me an email.

Below are the terms and conditions for Gradiance, the marking software used at Stanford:

<%@ page import="*, java.util.*, cmg.sms.ejbs.smsuser.SmsUserData, cmg.sms.ejbs.base.BaseSms, cmg.sms.servlets.reg.RegFormServlet, cmg.sms.utils.errors.RegErrors, %>

This certainly inspires confidence. I had no choice but to click the "I agree" checkbox.

This week I've been evaluating the flood of suggestions sent to Project 10100. Gah. Tip for would-be submitters: there's no such thing as a "GPS chip" that will tell you where a missing object is. What you are looking for is a GPS receiver (to find out where it is) and a cellular transmitter (to beam that information to the cell phone network) and a battery pack (to power the receiver and transmitter). And no, the above package cannot be inserted subcutaneously into every newborn.

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Legal yada yada: My views do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my goldfish.