Electronics projects to make you sit up and take notice.

During my daily morning mainline injection of news on the Net this week, a couple of electronics projects caught my eye that I hadn't seen before. The first is a project from SparkFun Electronics that uses higher voltage than I'm used to working with - a Geiger counter kit with a USB interface. The kit is constructed around the popular ATmega 168 microcontroller, which means that the basic Arduino development kit can be used to write code that pulls samples from the Geiger-Muller tube (powered by a tiny high voltage power supply) and outputs numerical values over USB, where the 'counter …

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A fob watch for the twenty-first century.

A man named Howard Pounds was considered by some in Australia to be a master horologist, or watchmaker. Possessing a surgeon's touch and the patience of the mountains he was one of the rare few knowledgeable enough to repair ladies' watch movements. His talent with clockwork mechanisms was so sought after that he was not permitted to fight in World War II because the Toowoomba Foundry required his abilities far more. Sadly, this master of the most arcane of mechanical arts went beyond in the year 2005. Four years after his passing, Howard's grandson Paul constructed a fitting tribute: a …

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