Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hands free wheelchair

A backyard New Zealand inventor has created a hands free wheelchair for a friend disabled in a skiing accident. The wheelchair is self balancing and responds to shifts in weight, allowing the user to instantly turn in any direction.

The invention is currently in preproduction set up and is a finalist in the New Zealand National Innovators’ Awards.

Some common questions answered:

More info here

More video of the Ogo here

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A house that catches the sun

This amazing award winning house in Australia can chase the sun. Built on a huge lazy susan, the house rotates 359 degrees for a change of scenery at the touch of a button.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Globe making

Earlier in the year I glued together a papercraft lunar globe from Canon Creative Park.

Recently I've been thinking about making my own earth globe, but after watching this video it doesn't look easy. The time and skill required is amazing.

[Spotted on]

If you are looking for a very simple sun or moon papercraft project, try this Pixelpapercraft Sun and Moon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Natural History Museum, Stuttgart

We visited the  Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart during our summer holiday.

The museum has two exhibition buildings in Rosenstein park. We only visited the Museum am Löwentor, which contained items from prehistoric times including amber complete with captured insects (like in Jurassic Park) and fossils and reconstructions of cave bears, dinosaurs, mammoths, people and other land and sea creatures.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Miniatur Wunderland

In Hamburg this summer we visited the famous Miniatur Wunderland. It is the world's largest model railway with hundreds of thousands of figures, thousands of moving trains, planes, boats and automobiles.

Computer controlled lighting turns the Wunderland into night every 15 minutes. There is a lot of attention to detail and many comical items to be found as well as many buttons for visitors to start actions in different scenes.

A short clip of some of the models in action

Las Vegas



A construction site

More construction

A rescue in progress


We saw some of the behind the scenes with model makers working on the new Italy section as well as the computer control panels.

Modelmaker at work

Control panel 

Official video of Miniatur Wunderland

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tycho Brahe Planetarium

Did you know that Denmark has an amateur manned space programme?

On our summer trip to Denmark, we visited the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen and saw a slightly damaged spacecraft capsule from the Copenhagen Suborbitals programme. 

The Tycho Brahe spacecraft was launched with the HEAT 1X rocket from a vessel in the Baltic Sea in June 2011. The capsule contained a crash-test dummy and launched successfully but veered off course and the flight was cut short. During the flight the parachutes tore, causing the spacecraft to crash land in the sea at about 200 km/h.

The flight from the astronaut's perspective.

Data from the flight has been used to improve the programme and so despite this setback the missions are continuing. The recovered craft is on display in the planetarium along with many other exhibits about space exploration. 

My son created his version of a spacecraft ready for launch at the planetarium.

The complex contains an huge screen for 3D and IMAX movies. We saw a 3D movie about the journey to the planets and a Jean-Michel Cousteau film - The Marvelous Ocean.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Viking ships

This summer we visited the Viking Ships Museum at Roskilde in Denmark. The museum is dedicated to preserving five viking ships that were discovered submerged in the Roskilde Fjord. The five ships were submerged for about a thousand years and so recovering them was a challenging task. Modern replicas of the ships have been built and there is an ongoing open source project where visitors can take part in constructing a boat. 

Photo by Vassia Atanassova - Spiritia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The summer program included hands on activities for children to make jewellery, swords, shields, axes, model boats and other viking themed crafts.

At the cafe, we enjoyed a modern Nordic meal based on the types of foods Vikings would have eaten, including mead.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Geological Museum, Copenhagen

On our recent trip to Denmark, we visited the Geological Museum in Copenhagen.

Along with displays on geology, highlights for us included a collection of meterorites and a collection of minerals that change color under ultravoilet light.

A fascinating exhibit is the "All things strange and beautiful", original objects from Museum Wormianum and The Royal Cabinet of Curiosities. In the early years of the 17th Century, physician, Ole Worm created one of the first museums in the world with his collection of natural specimens from around the world.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Round Tower Observatory

In the very center of Copenhagen is the Round Tower - one of the world’s oldest working observatories. 

During our recent trip to Denmark, we climbed the spiral ramp and stairs 38.4 m to the platform and viewed the city. Built between 1637 and 1642, the Round Tower has been used for astronomy until the present day. 


Point Zero. The hollow core of the tower was originally used for viewing stars.


The sun is usually the object viewed when the observatory is open to the public during the day, but cloud cover made even seeing the sun not possible, so the telescope was pointed at a clock tower.

The Library Hall halfway up the tower had an exhibit of Danish architecture.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Experimentarium City

As a family we like to visit hands-on science museums in different countries when we travel on vacation. 

This summer we visited the Experimentarium City in Copenhagen, Denmark and spent a whole rainy day there.

They have a section (Exhibit: Pulse) that encourages group participation in activities. These included jumping, dance and co-ordination games, running and cycling and an obstacle course.

The Balance Kitchen 
Hit as many lit buttons as possible in the time limit without touching the floor.

After each station, we could log in with our RFID wristbands to choose the best photos/video of the activities.

Their many other interactive displays covered different sciences and technologies. At many of the stations was a touch screen with RFID reader that enables you to save your data for follow up later at home.

Almost all of the exhibits and interactions have instructions in Danish and English. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Air Festival

The local Air Force Technical School had an open day on the weekend with flight and aircraft displays.

A lot of student projects were on display too. Some had made fire fighting robotic models, others were explaining hydraulic or other aircraft systems.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Space Camper

My daughter went to Space Camp Turkey a few weeks ago for a three day school trip.

"It was pretty fun - very fun indeed".

She learnt a lot of stuff about space including the Mercury astronauts, the Gemini program, the Apollo missions, space shuttles and mission control.

She went on some simulators.

She also built and flew a model rocket and in one evening session she saw Jupiter and four moons through the telescope.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter eggs

Easter eggs are hidden gems inside movies, dvds, software and websites.

Have you ever made any?

I created a couple of Easter eggs three years ago on the Factory Reset wiki. This wiki has user created instructions for resetting a number of devices back to their factory settings and is a good resource if you need to get your device back.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Color for the colorblind

EnChroma in association with Valspar has developed glasses which transform colors for people with color vision deficiency.

Learn more about the technology used at

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Laptop screen repaired

My ancient Dell Inspiron developed problems with the screen about 18 months ago.  The LCD panel was OK, but the backlight was not working. In the meantime, I have used an external monitor with it.

Inspired by a recent episode of the Ben Heck Show where Ben replaced the inefficient CFL tube with LEDs, I had another look at repairing the screen. Opening it up, I discovered that one of the tube's connections was broken and so after soldering it back together, the screen is working again.
The CFL tube removed from the screen

The end of the tube where the bad connection had shorted out

Starting to put it back together
You can see the various layers of magnifiers and diffusers for the backlight 

It works again!

Only glitch is some dust in between the diffuser and magnifier layers

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy pi day (3.14.15)

To celebrate pi day, I've created a couple of art works:

3 dominates π

Later today I will also make a lemon meringue pie.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bit of a makeover

I've given the MuzGadgets blog a bit of a makeover with a vector based banner designed in Affinity Designer from Serif and freshening up the look of the blog with new fonts and some color tweaking.

I have also removed some stuff, but all the blog posts since the blog started in 2007 are still here. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Which gadget takes priority?

My work phone is a Galaxy Note 3 that came with a 1st gen galaxy gear watch. Because i am a gadget guy i like to get the most out of all my gadgets, the note 3 has nfc technology built in so i started playing with anything i could scan.
My credit card has a nfc chip inside as does my passport. I use an app called tasker to automate various parts of my life. I pulled the nfc page out of an old passport and placed it on my work desk. When I arrived at work each day I can simply lay my phone on the passport page and it would initiate certain tasks like backing up my photos from my phone. Because it works so well i ordered a bunch of nfc stickers from AliExpress. Once the second lot arrived, which were the right format, I was away putting stickers around the house to run different tasks on my phone.
NFC sticker on Marmite jar
This all went well until i discovered wireless charging. The kit I got from aliexpress included a charging pad and a receiver coil that fits inside the back cover of the phone. Wow this is awesome no more plugging the cable in just lay my phone on the pad and it would charge itself. Very convenient.

However now my nfc does not work it seems that the charging receiver coil seems to block the nfc radio signals.
So now i have to decide which is more convenient the wireless charging or the automation of tasks with nfc.

I know this is a first world problem and maybe i should be thinking about helping children in Africa . But if there's anyone out there who knows how to get both working drop me a line until then I think i'll go back to plugging in my charger.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beware of fake solar cells

I was wondering why this cheap "DUAL POWER" calculator was not working. Sure the battery was probably flat and it was dim in the room, but it would not turn on even in bright light.

So I opened it up and found that the solar panel is fake. A piece of plastic with three lines embedded in it, not connected to anything.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hourglass clock

I like this old style hourglass clock by Mike Sander which flips and advances the hour every 60 minutes. It is expertly handcrafted and the internal workings are a unique solution.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How "green screen" worked

Tom Scott gives an informative presentation on how film and video did "green screen" editing before computers.

For info on how "green screen" works now, ask the Muzgadget Bro at Outpost.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lego X - Digital modelling with Lego bricks

Gravity, the designers of a pen and a pad specifically designed for sketching in the augmented environment have also developed Lego X - location aware lego bricks for creating digital 3D models.

Lego X from Lego X on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Groundhog Day

In celebration of Groundhog Day, Instructables has a special instructable today on how to modify the Groundhog Day Alarm Clock featured in the Groundhog Day movie. The Groundhog Day Alarm Clock consists of a Panasonic RC-6025 flip clock modified to play the audio from the movie Groundhog Day when the alarm goes off.

Make sure to watch the video!

Learn more about making the Groundhog Day Alarm Clock at Groundhog Day Alarm Clock on Instructables.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hearing colors

Imagine having your senses rewired. Neil Harbisson was born color blind and can only see in grayscale. His "eyeborg" allows him to hear colors including infrared and ultraviolet.

See and hear his experiences in this fascinating TED talk:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Amazing house truck

Small portable houses don't need to be rectangular. This amazing house truck transforms into a roomy castle!