Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Building A Radio Out Of Household Odds & Ends

Razor radio
To celebrate the introduction of Apple's iPod Nano, I'm jumping back to the dawn of radio. First introduced in the early 20th Century, crystal radios are incredibly simple devices powered directly by radio waves. That means they need no batteries, require few parts, and can be built quickly by bored do-it-yourselfers. I built one as a kid, but not like this.

Simon Field's scitoys.com offers instructions for building radios using common household items -- as if McGyver decided to drop by for the afternoon. You'll discover how to make a simple coil antenna using a plastic water bottle, craft a tinfoil-and-wax paper capacitor, and assemble a lethal-looking diode out of a rusty old razor blade. If that's not enough, he guides you through the assembly of a simple AM radio transmitter using little more than an electronic oscillator and an audio transformer. Field claims it can be built in a mere ten minutes.

We live in a world where we're encouraged to see technology as magic. These simple designs help to anchor us to the science behind the mystery. They're also way cheaper than an iPod.

Building a crystal radio out of household items (scitoys.com)


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