Tag Archives: How-To

Cranderson Enterprises IncrLEDible Power Vest

From the guy who brought you the accELeration speedcrutches – the fastest* crutches in the world – comes a revolutionary new product: the Cranderson Enterprises IncrLEDible Power Vest. What, you might ask, is a power vest? Put simply, it’s a vest that gives you the power to dance faster, harder, and better than you could without it.

Let’s have a cursory look at some (but not all) of the steps that go into making each IncrLEDible Power Vest.

First, two programmable LED strips need to be wired up to connect to a breakout board. First solder the wires:

Soldering data and power wires to the LED strip

Then hot glue to strengthen the physical connection and insulate the wires:

Hot glue to strengthen connection and insulate wires

Then electrical tape for further strength and weather-proofing:

Electrical tape to protect the LED strip

Next, the brain of each LED strip needs a bit of soldering so it can be connected to the strip:

Soldering a header to the Atmega32u4 breakout board

Me and my soldering station:

My soldering station

Once the LED strips are both ready and tested, they need to be attached to the vest. First, the placement of the strip should be marked out with chalk or masking tape. These two photos show one side marked, and the other already attached:

IncrLEDible Power Vest in progress - back
IncrLEDible Power Vest in progress - front

Slits are then cut in the vest’s outer layer to create pass-through loops:

IncrLEDible Power Vest closeup

View from the inside of the vest:

IncrLEDible Power Vest closeup

On the prototype, I reinforced the area around each loop with duct tape, but for long term durability, thread should be used (like around a button hole).

Duct tape to protect the inside of the vest
Duct tape to protect the inside of the vest

And here’s the final product showing a sample 50 second light sequence. Each of the 32 LEDs in each strip (64 per vest) are individually programmable to turn on or off in any order, for any length of time, at any mathematically-definable interval, in any of a whopping 2 million colours:

Cranderson Enterprises IncrLEDible Power Vest from Chris Anderson on Vimeo.

From the creator of the Cranderson Enterprises accELeration speedcrutches, comes the IncrLEDible Power Vest. This no-nonsense power vest will help you dance harder and faster, while dazing and confusing your competitors on the dancefloor with its 64 super duper bright and flashy LEDs, each capable of displaying 2 million colours and fully programmable to do whatever you want it to do!

If you would like your very own IncrLEDible Power Vest, please contact me for pricing and lead time information.

*This claim has not been verified by any independent sources

cranderson enterprises accELeration speedcrutches

I knew since December last year, when I ripped my anterior cruciate ligament clear off my femur and tore my meniscus a bit, that I’d need a surgical operation to fix it. Just after arriving back in Vancouver from the DR Congo in March this year, my surgery date was finally given to me: April 10th, 2012 at UBC Hospital. I knew then that I had only a limited time to create… the fastest crutches ever.

In order to do this, I first carried out many (fractions of) hours of rigorous scientific research online (Google Image search function) to find the best idea someone else had come up with, then do something completely different.

One guy I found in my research had added a beer holder to his crutches to make them faster. Unfortunately, his design doesn’t take into account the S factor (shaking of beer) which means that a closed beer, in his crutches and travelling at the speeds at which such speedy crutches must travel on a daily basis, could easily explode — or at least lose a lot of its carbonation. Not good for mouthfeel. Anyways, I hadn’t the time to devise an ingenious gyroscopic sling system to keep a beer from over-shaking while held by a crutch moving at supersonic speeds, so in the end I didn’t use any of his engineering ideas (I may do so in the future, however).

Crutch beer holder. Photo copyright: Claire Howell, http://www.flickr.com/people/midwestbass/

(photo copyright: Claire Howell, http://www.flickr.com/people/midwestbass/)

I also found a young lady’s detailed instructions on how she made her crutches faster, including the mathematical calculations she used. Unlike the beer holder crutches, I could find no engineering flaw in her design – it’s clear that her crutch land speed greatly increased once she modified them; plus, she even got compliments on the design from passers-by. Much like designing the Koenigsegg Agera R, it’s very difficult to build something that is both incredibly fast and also aesthetically pleasing, but some people seem to have that gift. A number of the engineering concepts found in her pink rhinestone-studded crutches have been adapted to include in my design, although in order to protect my trade secrets I cannot tell you which of these elements I’ve incorporated.

Pink rhinestone crutches. Photo copyright: Katie Brown, http://downtownkatiebrown.blogspot.ca/

(photo copyright: Katie Brown, http://downtownkatiebrown.blogspot.ca/)

A quick warning to those who aim to create their own, faster-than-slow crutches, when doing rigorous scientific research online: There are numerous companies selling so-called crutch “covers” and “accessories” to make your crutches look faster, but I guarantee you that they do just that: they make your crutches look faster. They will not increase your crutch land speed in any way; they might even slow you down!

Now, having explained all of this to you, I hereby present: the cranderson enterprises world premiere of accELeration speedcrutches, the fastest fully homologated, zero-emission high-visibility speedcrutches ever designed.

Features include:

  • Super speed
  • Amazing acceleration
  • Very quick
  • Make you go faster

Before and after photos:

Before: regular crutches
After: black cranderson accELeration speedcrutches
Before: regular crutches
After: black cranderson accELeration speedcrutches
Before: regular crutches
After: black cranderson accELeration speedcrutches
Before: regular crutches
After: black cranderson accELeration speedcrutches
Before: regular crutches
After: black cranderson accELeration speedcrutches

The EL wire bits I needed to make my crutches faster, from the Vancouver Hackspace:

EL wire supplies from the Vancouver Hackspace

The result of all this hard work? accELeration speedcrutches with the kitchen light on:

accELeration speedcrutches with light on

accELeration speedcrutches with the kitchen light off:

accELeration speedcrutches with light off

Two studio close-ups of the accELeration speedcrutches:

close-up of accELeration speedcrutches
close-up of accELeration speedcrutches

Yours truly showing off the crazy speed of these super fast accELeration speedcrutches:

cranderson accELeration speedcrutches (EL wire crutches) in use

A video of the fastest recorded crutchrun in history, using cranderson accELeration speedcrutches, can be viewed by clicking here.

How-To: The Loopy Logistician’s Leatherman Haircut

One cool evening in Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo, a colleague asked me to cut her hair. I was flattered that someone had seen in me the same natural artistic ability I had long seen in myself but which I failed to make noticed by those around me; at the same time, I must admit to feeling confused at the request, having never cut anyone’s hair in my life (unless you count shaving my own head, or snipping off locks of my at-the-time toddler sister’s hair, after we got chewing gum stuck in it).

Being a logistician, when in the field my Leatherman multi-tool is never far from reach. Scissors, on the other hand, were at least ten meters away (this is equivalent to about six seconds at my average walking speed, recorded on several occasions as 6 km/h). The mathematics of convenience (aka laziness) clearly dictate that the Leatherman was the correct choice to cut my colleague’s curls. Of the many options available to me, I chose to use the serrated saw blade, having as logic the basic idea that cutting a loaf of bread is far easier with a serrated bread knife than with a non-serrated meat knife. Whether hair is more similar in nature to bread or a roast was a question that only occurred to me later on.

Rock Your Hair

Instructions: For the simplest and fastest Leatherman haircut, get your client’s hair in a ponytail, and ask him or her to hold around the base of the ponytail. You grab hold of the other end of the ponytail of hair with your non-Leatherman hand. While maintaining the ponytail fairly taut by pulling it away from your client’s head, begin sawing back and forth at a quick pace, without applying any downward pressure; the saw will carry itself downward as it cuts through. When finished, dispose of the newly shed locks or pass them on to someone in need.

Preparing for the Leatherman haircut
Cutting hair with a Leatherman saw

It worked!

Leatherman haircut complete

Not only did I manage, in less than ten seconds, to cut my colleague’s hair, but we were able to provide a hair piece for another colleague who, like me, no longer has a full head of his own hair.

Finding new use for the waste resulting from a Leatherman haircut

Stay tuned for the next Loopy Logistician’s Leatherman how-to: the Loopy Logistician’s Leatherman Martini!

The Leatherman saw used to cut hair

En cas de panne sèche

If you happen to pick up a Land Cruiser at a remote border crossing in Côte d’Ivoire one day, well over 100km from the nearest fuel station, and you find that your colleagues on the Liberian side of the border have kindly drained all the diesel out of the two 70L 90L fuel tanks, hence explaining why they were three hours late arriving, there are a number of potential solutions to get you out of your predicament.

Liberian border crossing at Pekanhouebli

The first solution is that you were already prepared, and brought some diesel in 20L jerrycans with you to the border, attached the roof of the vehicle that transported you to the border crossing (let’s call this Land Cruiser A, and call the other one Land Cruiser B).

Metal jerrycans

If you didn’t think of this, the next best option is to syphon some fuel from one of Land Cruiser A’s fuel tanks into one of Land Cruiser B’s fuel tanks using a syphon tube. Of course, while trying this option you may realise that Toyota had you in mind when they installed anti-syphoning guards in Land Cruisers, making it virtually impossible to get the syphon tube into the fuel tank of Land Cruiser A.

Syphoning fuel

Once these first two solutions have been eliminated from your list, there is a third option available: open the drain plug on the bottom of one of Land Cruiser A’s fuel tanks and place a container underneath to catch the diesel as it slowly pours out the small hole. To do this, you should park the vehicle on level ground or, if possible, on raised tracks so there’s more ground clearance between the bottom of the fuel tank and the container you’re using to catch the diesel. This is very time-consuming, as a Land Cruiser consumes about 13L/100km, and the fuel drains out of the tank pretty slowly. You’ll also be taking fuel from the very bottom of the tank, which means you get all the mucky sediment settled on the bottom, which is not good for your vehicle. Hopefully the fuel filter in Land Cruiser B can remove most of the sediment before it gets to the engine.

Draining fuel from reservoir

The fourth and final solution available, aside from parking the vehicle and coming back later (and probably finding it missing upon your return), is to buy fuel from a friendly Italian aid worker who happens to have just opened an office 50 metres away from where you’re trying to drain fuel out of your tank, and who happens to have made a fuel run the day before to stock up on hundreds and hundreds of litres of diesel, and who happens to have seen you from his office window trying the second and third solutions.

Disclaimer: The postings and views expressed on this site are mine alone, and do not represent the position or values of Médecins Sans Frontières.