The New Cool Tech Products


The Toolbox

The best multimeter ever – Mooshimeter

Most multimeters are the size of wallet or a book, and can only display information in a string of digits. You must be within a foot or two of what you want to measure, have three hands, and the meter can’t save the information it displays any better than binoculars can.

The Mooshimeter changes all that. It’s a bit smaller than a normal meter, runs for six months on two AA batteries and connects wirelessly to your cell phone. This means you can tuck it under the hood of your car and monitor that finicky electrical hiccup while driving down the highway at eighty miles per hour. It also records up to six months of data, so you could record voltage and current (yes, both at once) on a given circuit breaker to compare spring vs summer AC usage at home. The auto ranging display also makes diagnostics much simpler by showing complicated information in a simple graphical format. Take a look at the link above to see all the details.

Armored heat seeing cellphone – Cat S60

-This phone is does everything you expect a good Android phone to do, and so much more. If the Nexus series phones were a team of trendy sedans, the S60 would be a mad max armored truck. It can survive a six foot drop onto concrete and a one hour swim in the 16ft deep end of the pool.

This thing can literally see in the dark; not night vision or by amplified star light, no, it see’s the heat emitted by everything around it. Animals in the dark, overheated machinery in a factory, hot water pipes hidden behind a wall, they literally glow in the S60s thermal camera. If you work with your hands it doesn’t take long to find uses for this technology. Handyman? See drafts and missing insulation through walls, trace water pipes, check for overheated circuits in a breaker box and find out where that infernal drip of cold water is coming from. Police officer? See which cars have been driven recently by their glow and track suspects in total darkness by body heat and the hand prints they leave whenever they touch something. Parent? Find your daughters pet when they get lost in the woods or hide in the crawlspace. Take your sons temperature when he’s sick or help him get the oven temperature right to bake cookies.

Radiation detecting wrist watch $250

This is a Russian made watch called the Polimaster PM1208 with a built in geiger counter that warns you when you’re exposed to nuclear radiation. The alarm option keeps the watch silent until there is something dangerous to report, and it also has a counter mode that chirps with every detection. It’s sold with different cases ranging from $200 to $550. A good gadget to wear if you work around radiation or are worried about otherwise undetectable and deadly radiation.

Steel wire banding tool strong enough to clamp a hydraulic hose on – Clamp tight

Clamp tight is like having hundreds of high quality stainless steel hose clamps, zip ties, and fasteners of every time, yet still it still fits in your toolbox. This thing was developed for use on ocean sailing boats as there tend to be very few hardware stores floating out at sea, and boats break down like everything else. To use it, you wrap the wire around the piece to be secured, then around the tool. Turning the bolt pulls the slack out of the wire then rotating the tool locks the wire down like a giant copy of the wire tie that holds a bread bag closed.

It does have one obvious weaknesses – you have to have enough clearance to rotate the tool, so some automotive repairs are out of the question because there just isn’t enough room. Overall though, it would be tough to find a more compact and lighter way to repair so many different breakdowns.

Nice self-contained butane soldering iron the size of a highlighter – Weller $50

I can’t vouch for this one personally, but a small reliable iron that heats up in seconds and can be used on no notice anywhere it’s needed is a huge help. How often have you needed an iron, but not had a ready plug and stand for it where you were working under the dashboard of the car?

1000 lumen rechargeable flashlight by Nitecore $55

Growing up, ‘flashlight’ was a word that meant ‘that big heavy plastic thing we keep in the kitchen drawer that glows a dim yellow and always has dead batteries when we need it’. No more. Nitecore makes a variety of good lights, but this is the one I keep clipped to the lip of my pocket. Because I work with my hands, I like to be able to see what I’m working on, and very few things break down in the middle of a well lit work bench in the garage. When something needs attention, it always seems to be at night, up underneath a dashboard, deep in a computer cabinet, or some similar difficult to see location. Since I got this light I’ve never had trouble seeing what I’m doing. It has the usual high/medium/low settings with some flashing options for emergency use, and when I need everything it can do, 1000 lumens is as bright as two car headlights. The battery usually goes a month or two between charges, and any 18650 charger can recharge it in a few hours.

$300 CNC Laser cutter/etcher tool

These $300 laser cutters have become available recently on Ebay, and they offer remarkable utility at a very reasonable price. Various reviews are available; the user interface takes some getting used to, and the mirrors often need alignment after being shipped in from overseas, but after that the cutter will cut and etch words, pictures and just about anything else onto an area the size of printer paper (about 8 by 12 inches). The cutter can be used to make puzzles, pet tags, precision cut wood and plastic, etch metal and glass, etc. A very helpful maker tool.

Paper thin microscope lens that sticks to your cell phone – Blips

The link says it all – this thin slip of plastic the size of a post-it note will turn your cell phone camera into a microscope. Useful for outdoor adventurers, detectives, teachers and anyone else interested in the world around them.

$6.50 tiny pocket telescope you can carry everywhere – DX

This inexpensive tool weighs next to nothing and is tiny enough to fit in anywhere. Good for tracing wiring in a high ceiling, aircraft or bird watching, hiking, playing spy with the kids, etc.

Pipe style building materials that use electrical conduit at $3.50 per 10ft section – Maker Pipe

There are many build systems that can be used to build anything, but most of them like 80/20 cost a fortune (think $15 per ft!). Maker pipe uses simple, inexpensive clamps plus cheap 3/4inch electrical conduit to build nearly anything you could imagine. If you need to build anything from carts to furniture to equipment, give this one a look.

Must have Chemical identification – WISER web site and WISER app download

WISER is a chemical identification book long carried by firefighters who need to quickly find out: “what’s in that burning tanker truck, and what will it do to us?” The book used to cost less than $20, but today the entire program is available for free download as the WISER app. If you ever find yourself facing a mystery chemical spill, do you want to be one of the clueless people wondering what to do, or do you want to be the person who looks up the chemical in the first thirty seconds and tells everyone what it is and what you have to do next? The app is free and will happily wait on your cell phone until you need it; don’t be clueless, be WISER.

Industrial and special purpose tools

Laser paint scraper and cleaning tool – P Laser and in action video

An interesting scraping process similar to sand blasting, CO2 blasting and bead blasting. I can’t vouch for this product, but I’ve never seen anything else like it either (as of 2016).

MAD speakers for extreme distance, volume and clarity

Planar speakers like the ones above are very different from standard paper cone speakers. If normal cone speakers are like light bulbs spreading out in all directions, planar speakers are like lasers. Where cone speakers fade out over distance and interfere with each other, planar speakers can be heard at ridiculous distances, and over other noises. Probably their neatest trick is that in a noisy 90 dB environment, this speaker can clearly be heard an understood even at 80 dB.

On site, eco-friendly cleaning and sanitizing liquids from saltwater – Pathosans – video

If you use cleaning chemicals in any significant quantity, you need to watch this video and check out this system. Just as your water softener uses salt to remove minerals from your drinking water, this system uses bulk salt and tap water to produce huge quantities of cleaning chemicals and sanitizing liquid on site.

The process is simple but clever: electrical current is used to split the salt apart in salt water. Salt (sodium chloride) in water is split and filtered to become sodium water (Patho clean) and chloride water (Patho sans). Patho clean is good for scrubbing carpets, washing surfaces, etc while Patho sans kills germs wherever it goes. Agricultural companies use Pathosans units to sterilize live animal contact surfaces and hotel chains use it to produce cheap and effective cleaning products. The cost of the cleaner and sanitizer is around five cents per gallon. The machine itself commands a high price, but if your business buys its cleaner/sterilizer in 55 gallon drums, this system stands a good chance of saving you a lot of money.

Wave glider, an ocean drone that can cross oceans and is powered by wave action

These inventors figured out that while waves make the surface of the water go up and down, they have zero effect on the deeper water. The torpedo shaped bottom has fins that ratchet it forward every time it’s hauled up and down by the surface drone bobbing on the waves above. They work in very small waves and category 5 hurricanes equally well and so can be used to take readings, monitor for science/defense, or conceivably to transport illicit cargo from one continent to another.

Industrial forklift crash prevention – sees around blind corners and runs on batteries – Collision Sentry

This handy gadget runs on D batteries and uses magnets to stick to metal racking at blind 90 degree corners. When someone approaches from one side nothing happens, but when someone approaches from both sides simultaneously the device lights up a flashing warning to prevent a collision.

Interesting ring knife for people who open a lot of packages – Handy Safety Knife

This product is intended for people who use hand knives to open a lot of packages. It is inexpensive, disposable, and always to hand. There are plenty of places these would be unsuitable (any workplace with powered conveyors or equipment comes to mind), but the idea is so unique it deserves to be included for the one person who has the problem this tool answers.

Two way radios for $15 instead of $300 –

It turns out that two way radios have gotten a lot cheaper over the years, but just as a teenager can charge grandma money to fix her computer, so the contractors that most companies get their radios from are not in a hurry to tell everyone how easy the job has become. BaoFeng radios cost between $15 and $30, and do everything you expect from a walkie-talkie, but unlike what you’re probably using now, BaoFeng uses better equipment and lithium ion batteries standard. This translates into much longer run times and better performance. The simple $15 radio and more complicated $30radio can be found here, along with the cable used to program them. This link here discusses how to do it.

Rust prevention in existing concrete structures courtesy of NASA

NASA has a lot of concrete structures near the coast, and saltwater corrosion is a problem for them. So they figured out a way to rust proof metal after it had been encased in concrete for years. If you have any concrete structure that’s showing

its age, take a look at this link.

The Bad AXX – an improved ax for fire fighters – $250 to $300

This is a Swiss army knife for firefighting: it’s a step up to high windows, it’s a repelling anchor point to get you off the roof when it’s on fire and collapsing, its wrench to shut off gas lines and open fire hydrants, it holds you’re forced entry tool, and the head cuts without ever getting stuck. It’s real and in production – check out the video.


A handy power strip for world travel – Power donut

A power strip that is tiny, travels easily, and adapts to different electrical systems around the world.

Medical tools

Emergency blood stopping powder, a must have for first aid kits – Celox and how to use

This product is used to keep someone alive long enough for the ambulance to arrive in the event of severe bleeding. It forms a jell to stop blood flow at the injury and comes as powder packages, bandages, or a syringe full of the powder for gunshot wounds. Pioneered in the US military, this is one of several good haemostatic products that are must haves for any serious first aid kit. If you own a gun or a knife, does it really make sense to be totally unprepared for the results of gun and knife wounds?

Emergency blood stopping pack – a second choice after Celox – QuikClot and how to use

QuickClot stops severe bleeding by absorbing the water out of blood, thus causing the clotting agents to become super concentrated at the injury site and stop the bleeding faster. As with Celox above, this will help keep someone alive long enough for the paramedics to arrive and save them.

Liquid band aid – a cheap, generic must have for first aid kits – example link

This is a generic product for minor to moderate injuries that sterilizes a cut and protects the injury site like a band aid. Good for use on tight locations that flex where band aids wouldn’t work. Because of its utility and tiny size it’s a good addition to any first aid kit.

Betadine – inexpensive sanitizing solution for cuts used by EMT’s – Link

In the old days parents used to use iodine or alcohol to clean and sterilize small cuts and scrapes (hydrogen peroxide will bubble dirt out of a wound, but it does not sterilize). Today we all have access to the same inexpensive product nurses and surgeons use; Betadine. It cleans and sterilizes wounds with much less burning than the old options, and most of us are familiar with it already as the brown skin staining wipe that doctors use before drawing blood.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS – a new treatment for depression, OCD, and Autism – Related tech

TMS is a revolutionary new tool that uses very strong magnetic fields to induce current flows near the surface of the brain. It’s essentially a big capacitor bank and a hand held coil employed for ten to twenty minute sessions to treat Depression and other mental conditions. Its painless, has virtually no side effects and is FDA cleared for a few conditions, but it’s in its infancy as a treatment. Promising studies have shown its potential to improve OCD, Autism and several other conditions.

Ultrasound for your cell phone – production pending – Clarius

For those trained to use it, Clarius is a new handheld ultrasound probe that allows diagnostic procedures to be done anywhere you have a cell phone. Production is slated to being in 2018.

Tech off the grid

Clean burning hyper efficient cook stove – see video

The Aprovecho Research center designs and sells extremely efficient cook stoves for camping and long term use in the third world. These stoves have a core made from lightweight clay that reflects heat back into the fire box, allowing a few sticks and twigs to burn hot and clean with no smoke. The top of the stove is built to channel the hot gasses onto the cooking pot for maximum heat transfer with minimal fuel. To first world campers this translates into a neat (if heavy) stove that can burn almost any handy material to boil water and cook. For church groups and other organizations working in the third world these stoves are a way to drastically reduce expenditures of time and money on fuel for cooking – see video. For large orders, the stoves can be shipped in by cargo canister at prices as low as $5 a stove for the bare clay core that actually makes the unit work. Anyone that has to think about where their cooking fuel comes from could benefit from this technology.

A light that runs on gravity like a grandfather clock – Gravity light

Gravity light is a small generator that uses a sack full or rocks to produce electricity for simple indoor lighting. Just like a grandfather clock, as the weights descend their energy turns the mechanism, in this case turning a generator to drive the lights. While campers can use this product, it is intended for the third world where indoor lighting after dark means kids can learn to read and go to school. Anyone living without electricity could benefit from this product.

One way to internet everywhere – Outernet – See video

Outernet is the best of the internet, broadcast one way only to earth from a satellite. The ‘Lighthouse’ model mounts to a standard direct TV dish and downloads many MB of data per day, while the ‘Lantern’ is a portable solar powered device that can travel anywhere and downloads at a slower rate. Both access the same information such as educational materials for students, warnings about local emergencies, weather forecasts, censorship free news, etc. Outernet devices slowly download this information and then allow users to log in and browse what is stored locally. The downside is that the data flow is one way only, but the upside is the system works as an end run around missing power and data infrastructure as well as censorship rules.

Clean drinking water from any source – Lifestraw

Access to safe drinking water is essential to health, and many of the worst diseases spread via contaminated water. The lifestraw family of products is invaluable to hikers and those working in the third world because it allows anyone to turn dirty water into clean safe water. The absence of safe water doesn’t just kill and sicken people, it drags down their finances, ensuring that those in crushing poverty stay there caring for the sick rather than using that time and money to send children to school.

Freshwater from saltwater – the water cone.

A simple plastic cone that makes 1.5Lts of freshwater from saltwater.

Water transportation from river to home – Water wheel

In some areas of the world, even getting water to the home for cooking and bathing is a major job that pulls time away from education and other productive tasks. The water wheel cuts that time in half and improves quality of life.


The one dollar paper microscope that fits in your pocket and is good enough for lab tests.

The Paperfuge

A centrifuge that works anywhere without power and achieves 125,000 RPMs. Under development for malaria testing. Development documents on how to build one.

Kitchen Tools

Portable drink carbonator – Bubble Cap

A hand held drink carbonator that accepts standard CO2 bottles and standard soda bottles unlike the SodaStream.

Parents corner

$100 Life saving product to prevent SIDS in infants – Snuza Hero –

If you or someone you know has a child under a year old, this is the most important thing on this page. The Snuza Hero clips onto an infant’s diaper to monitor motion and breathing. If no movement or breathing is detected for 15 seconds the device vibrates to wake the baby, but if nothing is detected by 20 seconds it sets of a loud alarm.

When SIDS kills a baby, all too often it happens in the middle of the night when both parents are asleep and it’s completely silent. Without some kind of alarm it’s almost impossible to intervene in time, so this can be the most important $100 spent on your baby. It saved our daughter’s life, and a quick read through the product reviews shows many more parents with similar saves.

Kingii flotation wrist band $90

After losing a relative to drowning, this engineer designed a wrist band that uses common CO2 cylinders to inflate an air bag for emergency flotation. Unlike a bulky life vest, this thing can be worn easily in or around water, and if used in an emergency it can be easily repacked and reloaded after saving a life. It’s suitable for kids and adults, and easy insurance when working around treacherous bodies of water. Roughly 372,000 people drown every year, and $90 seems a small price to protect those you care about.

Wetsuits for kids $35

Most kids love the water, but little little kids inevitably end up shivering and cold even at indoor pools that are comfortable for adults. The problem is that children have lots of surface area to lose heat through, but very little volume, meaning they get cold very quickly and can’t swim as long as they’d like. A wetsuit like this one fixes that problem and drastically reduces the area needing sunscreen as well. If you’d like to guarantee your child sleeps soundly through the night, consider one of these to turn a one hour trip into a real afternoon outing.

Free math and school tutoring – Khan academy – promo video

Khan Academy helps anyone at any level learn about math, science, and a variety of other school subjects using recorded lectures by skilled professors combined with interactive tests and automated tutoring. It’s hard to oversell this site; everything is free to use, nearly all subjects are covered, you can log in as a student, parent or teacher to monitor progress, and the site even has test prep for all the major tests like SAT and MCAT. The math section that started the site is particularly clever – when a student first logs in they take a ten question test that helps the program figure out their skill level, and then it suggests new math topics and tracks progress while periodically refreshing old topics as well. If you know anyone in school as a student, parent or teacher, tell them about this program. Odds are good they’ll thank you for it.

The drug talk – “Licit and Illicit Drugs by consumer reports

The do’s and don’ts of drugs are usually right up there with the ‘sex talk’ when it comes to uncomfortable conversations parents really need to get right, but often put off or miss altogether. Fortunately, consumer reports wrote an excellent book on the topic which is available for free online. The organization has a well earned reputation for impartiality, and it shows as the book talks about what each drug does, how it was discovered, and how it got to be legal or illegal. Having the facts makes smart choices possible, and this free resource is a must read for anyone over ten.

$1.25 calculator wrist watch loved by grade school kids – Link

Kids 5th grade and younger find these to be the height of fashion and prestige. If you want to reward a child with an inexpensive gift that will help them academically, search Google for ‘calculator watch’ and order a few.

How to get started in life and live well on less – Poorcraft.

Unless you’re lucky enough to start life as a millionaire, most of us have to start out on very small incomes working long hours at unpleasant jobs. There are scams and businesses beyond count built to take advantage of the young and un-educated. If you or someone you know earns less than $50,000 a year, spend $5 and get this book. It’s an easy-to-read graphic novel packed to the brim with useful tricks and tips, plus plenty of humor to keep things interesting.

(Cartoon thanks to xkcd)

Kerbal Space Program – Link

This game is a great way to build STEM interest in children and adults as you run a space agency for the ‘Kerbals’ and try to land on the moon or go to mars. All technology in the game also exists in the real world, rockets can be built from parts like Lego bricks and all the physics are as close to real as they can make them.

Google SkyMoon and Mars + Stuff in spaceImpact earthlightyearFM, the 100,000 stars project and the scale of our solar system.

  • Bit of an astronomy dump here, but if you want to learn about our universe or teach your children, these are excellent resources. Google Sky, Moon and Mars let you explore these places in the same way Google earth explores the globe. Stuff in space maps satellites around the world, impact earth simulates asteroid impacts and Lightyear FM travels 100 light years out from earth playing the songs that could be heard at that distance. The 100,000 stars project is an accurate, searchable 3D model of the nearest 100,000 stars to the earth, and the ‘scale of the solar system’ video shows how small we are by building a huge model in the desert. and Archive of our own (AO3)

  • This is a good way to encourage reading and incentivize writing practice. For any book, movie or TV show, there are fans who write stories about the canon, such as ‘what if she did this?’ or ‘what if this happened this way?’. These works of ‘fan fiction’ can read just like the original work, or can be very different with only characters from the original work. Everyone enjoys some kind of media, and FanFiction is a good way to get them reading about something they already like. In many cases, the instant availability of interesting reading material on any internet capable device boosts reading skills and sets up a situation where writing is undertaken enthusiastically and for fun. We’ve all seen people type out angry rants when ‘someone is wrong on the internet’. Fan fiction sets up situations where the reader will find a story about characters they’re very invested in and say ‘This story is awful! I could write a better story that this!’. And they do. And the posted story gets comments about what the bran-new author needs to work on. And so they write some more to show them, show them all.
  • After several months the same student who had to be forced to write a three page paper will be feverishly banging out ten page chapters twice a month to keep their fans happy.

NSF test

The National Science Foundation periodically surveys the public to see what they know about science, and the results usually aren’t pretty. The link above is to the ten question NSF test and a series of answers, essentially a canned lesson plan for anyone running a science class at any grade level. The printed test fits on a single sheet of paper and can be used to quickly find out how much your students know and catch up those who have holes in their understanding.

+Chemistry article referencing the periodic table and nuclear table

How different engines work

Anyone teaching STEM classes or with an interest in engines may find these animated diagrams useful. They’re not the most detailed, but they cover many different basic types of engines. This link shows the standard four cylinder auto engine in more detail. And this link shows more of the peripheral systems like cooling. Mechanical link.

Scan expensive text books or digitize your library – CZUR scanner

CZUR is a $300 machine that connects to any computer and scans books into e-books. Scanners that automatically turn the pages cost more than a luxury car, so this unit is an inexpensive way to digitize pricey school textbooks, unusual books from your library, or just anything you want to read but don’t feel like lugging around in paperback. Speed is about one photo (which covers two pages of the open book) per two seconds, so a 300 page book will take about eight to ten minutes to scan. If your college still uses paper text books, consider spending the $300 once on the scanner, instead of two or three times a year at the bookstore.

Bizarre wheels for projects, forklifts and robots – Mecanum Wheel

Mecanum Wheels are wheels that allow a vehicle to slide sideways by counter-rotating its wheels. They’re used on forklifts that work in narrow aisles, and in other specialty applications. Anyone building a wheeled robot for a competition should be aware of these because of the performance edge they provide.

Fun projects

The Long Now foundation building a clock that will run for 10,000 years.

The long now is a society dedicated to long term thinking, which involves several projects including a four story tall stainless steel clock that will run for 10,000 years, a project to record all human languages, and another to record old computer operating systems for backwards compatibility.

Hundred year time capsule for a dollar

A simple article on how to build a time capsule from a wine bottle that will last for one hundred years or more. This is a quick afternoon project that lets anyone from grade school kids to adults send a message to people decades or centuries in the future.

Free satellite TV for $250 of equipment

It turns out that free to air satellite TV is still around, and $250 worth of equipment will get you everything you need to watch it. This is a Ku band system (think direct TV sized) and mounts anywhere with a clear view of the southern sky. The programs are a mishmash of low budget shows and international content, but there are hundreds of channels, and they work anywhere you can see the sky. This package is understandably popular with members of the armed forces who want access to their own TV programming while stationed abroad.

They also sell the old huge C band dish systems (8 ft across and larger) that still pick up content as well as direct downlink video received by news trucks. Programming varies wildly, but there are some reliable shows – Nebraska, for example, broadcasts their PBS stations down on C band.

Telecom – how antennas work + satellite coverage map + how bandwidth worksKU vs C band pro con +

Jumping shoes that give 6 ft of air – Kangaroo shoes

Know as ‘acro stilts’, ‘power striders’ or ‘kangaroo shoes’, these toys allow for ridiculous jumps and let anyone run faster than the world’s fastest sprinter. They use a composite spring very much like the flexible part of a compound bow and arrow to greatly increase the efficiency of running and jumping, and like skate boarders, are popular for the tricks skilled users do with them.

Kniterate – a $5000 automatic knitting machine / cloth printer

For those who do serious amounts of knitting or want to design their own clothes, this home machine allows you to program and create whatever you want from common yarn.

Seaboard – a $2000 to $9000 keyboard with silicone keys that let you bend musical notes while you play.

Software defined radio – see and hear everything on every channel with this thumb stick

We all know AM and FM radio from cars, and some know more types of radio like citizens band, ham radio, etc, but until recently, receiving on more than one channel required many different radios. Not anymore. Software defined radio uses a computer to translate the signal, and this model costs $25, is the size of thumb drive, yet can receive anything from 500 Kh up to 1.7 Gh. In automotive terms, this would be like a car that could fly, drive, float on the water, dive under the water, rocket into space, yet it fit in your back pocket and cost $25. If you’ve ever thought about dabbling with radio, it’s never been cheaper or easier than this.

A bee hive that dispenses honey through a tap – no mess, simple and easy.

Not something I ever thought about before seeing this, but smoking out bees and opening up a hive of angry stinging insects isn’t the easiest way to get honey, especially considering the resulting comb still has to be scraped and filtered. These guys figured out how to get bees to fill an artificial honeycomb with honey, and it can literally be emptied with a tap.

Learn to knit… steel rings into medieval body armor –

Anyone into the SCA may find this old news, but some people still make armor and jewelry out of steel rings called chainmail. This site sells everything necessary to weave just about anything you want to make.

Incredibly powerful magnets designed for particle accelerators – United Nuclear

For all your incredibly powerful magnet needs. These magnets were intended for use in physics labs, and while prices range from $80 to $200, they are strong enough to amputate an arm if careful handling is not used.

Magnetic wedding rings for magicians – Super magnet man

These magnetic rings look and feel like normal jewelry, but can be used in magic acts. I have been informed that it is theoretically possible for a cashier to use one to demagnetize a particularly abusive or obnoxious customer’s debit card, though I don’t know of anyone who has. While there are many potential applications, take care not to touch your wallet while wearing one.

Multitool business card – about $1 per card to be remembered by clients/employers – Card + Label (Avery 5317)

Business cards tend to lead short lives, but they don’t have to. The listed multitools are the size of business cards, yet they can perform a variety of useful functions, and with the addition of the linked label, they can easily become unusual, useful business cards. If you think it’s worth one dollar to have a client keep your card in their wallet for the next five years, consider some of these. (My then-fiancee made my first batch for me as a college graduation present. Not only have they proved impressive for networking and business purposes, but my wife still designs all my business stationery.)

Gallium – the inexpensive liquid metal that turns aluminum to mush.

This one is largely self-explanatory – got something aluminum you don’t want in one piece anymore? Try Gallium!

Ultimate privacy monitor – no one can see your computer screen but you! – Hack how to

This clever hack is useful for those who need a privacy monitor. Essentially, all monitors have a thin skin of polarizing plastic in the display to produce a useable image. If you take the monitor apart, peel off this layer and apply it to a set of glasses, only the person wearing the glasses can see the screen – everyone else just sees a blank white light.

Millennium-Disk or M-Disk $5 a disk$50 for the burner drive

An M disk is a CD, DVD, or Blue ray disk made from a stone like material that will read in any conventional drive but retains its data for 1000 years. Most disk media becomes unreadable after a few years of storage, and the same holds true for magnetic hard drives and solid state drives like thumb sticks. Up till recently there wasn’t any way to preserve digital material short of constantly transferring it from one machine to another. Now it’s possible to send video and photos into the future through time capsules, well wishes with our lost loved ones through coffins, or just archive important documents for years to come. What do you want the world to remember when you’re gone?


Home, construction and architecture

Buy a $2000 cargo/shipping container for an indestructible backyard shed – Link


Cargo canisters are ugly but very durable and less expensive than most methods of construction. Suitable for backyard sheds, or even as the basis for tiny homes and larger structures, it can be useful to know this is an option.

Color changing heat sensitive tile for showers – Moving color


Most of us have seen that black plastic that changes color like a mood ring when held in a warm hand. It turns out someone made them into bathroom tiles that change from black to a rainbow of vibrant colors when the hot water comes on.

In floor heating tubes for very cheap winter solar heating (no solar cells needed)


If you ever build your own home, remember this trick. Home heating is usually done with forced air through ducts, but this requires a very small area to be very hot (the firebox of the furnace). We all know burning gas and oil gets expensive, but most of the time it’s our only option; solar concentrators can heat water to 150 degrees F, or even 180, but they can’t approach the high temperatures needed for a forced air furnace firebox. However, if you cast plastic water tubing into the floor of the building when its being built, now you have a very larger area that only needs to be warm in order to heat the whole house. A solar hot water panel made up of black copper pipe encased in vacuum tubes can be hooked directly to the system to heat your entire house for free even in the dead of winter.

ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) are lego blocks for building concrete homes (watch a one day build)

For anyone building a new home, ICF blocks are a great way to increase build speed, lower cost, improve insulations and finish with a much stronger structure than a wood only build would provide. To quote some statistics, a home build with ICF blocks can save 70% on energy bills, lower insurances costs by 10%, has 75% less outside air infiltration, is 10 times stronger and 3 times quieter than a wood home, comes with a 4 hour fire rating is literally bullet proof


Hunting, ballistics and security related

Z-Modo home camera system

Trying to secure a home or business is never easy; almost by definition anything that gets broken/stolen happens when you aren’t looking. An eight camera system with DVR is a good fix for this, and Z-Modo makes many fine systems for around $200 to $300. Have you ever heard of a break-in that cost less than $300?

Normally when you find out about a break in it’s far too late to intervene, and in most jurisdictions the police need three to six months to get the results back on a fingerprint search, and that’s assuming there are prints to find and the person leaving them already has a record with prints to search for. If someone gave you an assignment at your job would you still remember three months later?

By contrast, an eight camera system deters some break ins, and if a break in does occur, it preserves video of everything that is taken, and everyone involved. The police normally have a pretty good feel for who is causing problems in a neighborhood, but can’t do much about it without clear evidence. With a camera system you can run the video back while you wait for the police to arrive, and then play them the video with everyone’s faces. Quite often the result is “Hey, I know that guy! Wait here while we go pay him a visit.” In this way a camera system can permanently remove bad actors from a neighborhood and help everyone sleep better.


Krav Maga

This is an unarmed combat system developed by what became the Israeli army to deal with NAZIs in the 1930s. This is not a ‘martial art’ full of training dances and karate chops against empty air, it’s a way to take down an attacker trying to kill/rape you. It was built to defend an oppressed minority from F-ing NAZIs and it works, so it’s ideal for children, women, and many others.

The slingshot channel. Yes, this is a thing.


If you want to see things hit by overpowered homemade slingshots built by an engineer/body builder and his wife, take a look.

How to build a potato cannon for fun and ballistics demonstrations – spud gun & Pumpkin chucking

For everyone who ever wondered how to build an air cannon to throw potatoes, here is an expert. See also Pumpkin chucking for similar designs.


Pocket sized slingshot $20– Pocket shot


A remarkably tiny slingshot that still throws for distance.

Super compact Taser $300- Pulse


A recent shooting taser that is a nice mix of small size and functionality.

Cheap disposable pepper cannon $40– Pepper blaster – 

A tiny but highly effective way to deliver capsaicin to the face as cheaply as possible. While not a firearm, the device uses percussion caps to propel the pepper sludge, meaning it works at any temperature, in the rain in the wind, and doesn’t need to be charged up like a battery or a pressure can.

Blackpowder derringer $180– yes they still make them

An interesting tiny firearm that loads just as it did in the 1850s.

World’s smallest full power bow $900– Liberty Bow – test video

This manufacture figured out that compound bows no longer need the heavy aluminum bar between the spring arms, so they removed it to create a bow with a 70lb draw weight that fits easily in a backpack. Pricy, but interesting.

Computer tools

Run a ‘who is’ search to find out who owns a website –eg, slanted news vs propaganda

There are many sites on the web that purport to say something, but are owned by someone who has every reason to lie. A ‘who is’ search is a way to quickly find out who owns the website you’re reading. For example, if a web page claims solar panels cause cancer, a ‘who is’ search might reveal it to be owned by British Petroleum.

Find old versions of software to roll back bad updates – Old version

Sometimes it’s handy to be able to undo a bad software update, or re-install a program for the distant past; Old version allows you to do just that, simply and easily.

Google Earth and Google Maps to navigate and explore our world

These are known to almost everyone, but on the off chance someone hasn’t heard of Google maps, or its portable 3D parent Google Earth, take a look. Navigation and exploration has never been simpler.


Aircraft and pilots

Yes, you can fly small planes if you want to

Aircraft are not solely the domain of the rich and famous. You can buy or build an aircraft for the price of a luxury car, and with a small propeller driven plane, your time is suddenly much more valuable.

Draw a circle on a map with your home at the center and a radius of 8 hours driving. That’s about what most of us can do in a weekend; anything outside that circle is out of reach, or requires careful advanced planning. With an aircraft, that circle suddenly grows to 1000 or 2000 miles. Someone living in DC can hop into their plane after 5PM on a Friday and be relaxing on the beach in Florida before the sun sets.


Cars and automotive

Tesla model S, X and 3 – The best car ever (as rated by consumer reports).

By now most people have heard of Tesla motors and their three production cars, but if you’re one of today’s lucky 10,000 then read on. Tesla makes two $50,000 cars – a sedan and an SUV and one $35,000 sedan and they are the safest cars on earth as rated by multiple agencies. And they’re the fastest production cars in existence. And they’re all electric, silent and have a +200 mile range. And they come with autodrive standard, meaning the day self driving cars are legalized in your state, you already own one. Consumer reports has been rating cars for more than fifty years, and not only did the Tesla score higher than any other car or truck ever, they rated it the best car ever. Stories about it abound, like the time an insurance company tried to test the rollover strength of the roof and the car broke their hydraulic car crusher.

Automotive DashCam by ‘Boomyours” for $60

This strangely named camera of Russian manufacture is an indispensable tool for any car. When paired with a $5 micro SD card and adapter (not included, must be purchased separately or it won’t run), the camera suction cups to the windshield like a GPS and records everything happening inside the car and visible through the front window. It starts up as soon as the car starts, records about a month of driving, and automatically overwrites the oldest videos so no action is required by the user, just plug it in and forget it.

If you are hit by another driver, now you have video of the other person’s mistake and no amount of lawyers can change who is at fault. “It was my fault because I was on my phone? No, actually, the video clearly shows you hit me and I was not on my phone. That, and the GPS and G-force data shows where, when and how hard you hit my car.”

In addition to crash uses, the camera also records what happens during a traffic stop, and many users find the police are more polite when they are being recorded. If not, well, you now have video of exactly what happened and YouTube is free. Finally, the micro-SD to SD card adaptor allows you to quickly pull the card after a hit and run, put the video onto the responding officer’s laptop, and show them exactly what happened within minutes of the accident, resulting in an APB and a much higher chance of catching the hit and run driver.

RainX to improve visibility in wet/snowy conditions – $3 bottle lasts for many years

Most people already know about RainX, but if you are one of today’s lucky 10,000 to whom this is news, then read on. Being able to see while driving is pretty important, and RainX makes the task much easier, especially in hard rain or snow. Basically it’s a wax you rub onto your windshield in two minutes using a paper napkin or whatever you have handy in the car. Just as water beads up and runs off a waxed car, the same thing works on glass. The bottle above doesn’t leak like the spray bottles do, and can be tucked into the door compartment and re-applied every three months or so. One $3 bottle will often outlast the car it’s kept in, and it’s a cheap way to reduce the risk of a road accident.

BlueTooth OBD2 car diagnostic scanner for $7

This tool links to your Smartphone using the Torque app and allows you to read and reset trouble codes and check engine lights. It’s a cheap but invaluable tool, and great to have in any glove box.

Convert your car to run on French fry grease – Golden Fuels

For those interested in free fuel, Golden Fuels sells all the equipment needed to run your diesel truck on waste vegetable oil. The process is simple enough, mainly centered around filtering, and if you find yourself driving many miles in a diesel truck, using McDonalds as a fuel stop can be quite appealing.

Thank you for reading, I hope you found something interesting : )


Source :

Mike Arnold :Credentials & Highlights