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Okay okay, before we start raising our voices and writing our think pieces, can we all just agree that both Star Wars and Star Trek are amazing? That without them the internet would be a much more boring place? That whole generations of scientists and engineers were at least partially inspired to their calling by wanting to be like Luke Skywalker or Lieutenant Uhura when they were growing up?

 

On element14 we're never afraid to let our geeky sides show, so of course there have been a ton of amazing projects relating to either Star Wars or Star Trek. Since the theme of Project14 this month is Geeky Gadgets, we wanted to highlight some of our favorites from over the years. Maybe checking these out will inspire you in your own Project14 submission?

 

Ben Heck's Star Wars LED Art Project

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Karen from The Ben Heck Show picked up a sweet piece of BB-8 art - complete with LEDs - made by a friend of hers at a convention. The only problem: to start the light show she needed to physically flip its switch. But where there's a will there's a hack, so Ben and Karen designed a light reactive system to automate it. This episode is a great lesson in passive vs active components in a circuit, with some cool Star Wars style.

 

Douglas Wong's Star Trek IoT Alcove

As Douglas points out, home automation can sometimes seem a bit underwhelming, a little too mundane, so why not spice it up with some Star Trek flair? Building on some of his previous projects, including his Henrietta smart thermostat and the Enocean sensors he has set up to monitor doors and windows, his idea was to create a central control room with voice interface, a la the famous Enterprise computer (voiced by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, just FYI).

 

Spanner Spencer's Build Your Own Lightsaber

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Is there a more iconic part of the Star Wars franchise than the Lightsaber? Supposedly some people involved in the first film wanted them to be called laser swords, which would have been so much less cool. Spanner Spencer didn't just throw together his own replica from whatever was on hand; he did the research and the legwork, all the way down to the right kind of rubber windshield wipers for the handle, which you know all the cool Jedi have to have.

 

Douglas Wong's 3D Printed Star Trek Phaser

3D printers have so many potential applications: prototyping new tools, creating 3D models for surgeons to use in their preparation, producing food in space. But it can definitely also be used for more frivolous purposes, and clearly Douglas Wong loves Star Trek about as much as I do, so why don't we use it to make our own Star Trek props? He used a Cel Robox 3D printer - for which he also did an informative RoadTest - to make a hand phaser that I'm very jealous of.

 

Elecia White Disassembles the Sphero BB-8

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Alright, so in this one Elecia White didn't actually build anything, but as any tinkerer can tell you, sometimes taking things apart is just as fascinating. Turns out that, among other discoveries, BB-8's head is just a magnet, no components there at all (this is probably not actually Star Wars canon, or at least I hope). But there's some very cool tech powering this Sphero creation, even if disassembling a friendly robot made Elecia feel a little odd.

 

 

We hope this collection of past projects inspires you to create your own Project14 Geeky Gadgets! Remember that we are accepting submissions until July14th, 2017, and that there are prizes available if you can show your creation in an original video.project14_logodoc.png