This Week in Making: Simpsons’ Strandbeest, Game Developer’s Conference, Pi Day, and More

Last Sunday night, The Simpsons‘ new episode featured one of our favorite oversized mechanical contraptions — Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest. The reference was a nice reminder that our work as makers is only becoming more recognized all the time, and that the maker movement is becoming more mainstream (in a good way!).


Here’s me at the helm of Space Box, one of my favorite video games at GDC this year. Photo by Hep Svadja

The Game Developer’s Conference came to San Francisco Feb 27 through March 3, and we had a blast exploring all of the maker-made exhibits in the alt.ctrl.GDC area. Personally, I’m not much of a gamer, but I think the look of sheer joy on my face in the photo above speaks for itself. When someone hands me an Xbox controller, my eyes tend to glaze over, but the games here were all very approachable because they involved a physicality that made them immediately intuitive. A lot of the alternative video game interfaces we saw were super simple — stuff you could probably engineer in your own living room. Keep an eye out for our more in-depth coverage on the exhibits at alt.ctrl.GDC in Vol. 57 of Make: magazine, on newsstands this May.


Photo courtesy of 314Reactor

Perhaps you’ve been feeling like your smartwatch is a bit too sleek? Too modern, maybe? Lacking in the pixelated yesteryear aesthetic that only Windows 98 can convey? Well you’re in luck. Reddit user Lord_of_Bone recently shared this Windows 98 wristwatch he devised, using a Raspberry Pi as an emulator. Now you never have to be too far away from that dissolving window-flag logo thing.


Photo by Hep Svadja

Pi Day is coming up quick on March 14, and that means submissions close soon for our Pi Day Contest! Head over to the contest page to submit your project — anything that has to do with Raspberry Pi, numerical Pi, or actual edible pie is eligible to be chosen as the winner. The best project will emerge victorious, and will earn the maker $100 credit on makershed.com, a 1-year subscription to Make: magazine, and a brand new Raspberry Pi Zero W. You have until Tuesday the 14 at 11:59 PT to submit your project.


A SXSW attendee gets a hands-on experience with Groove Jones VR at last year’s festival. Photo by Richard Mcblane/Getty Images

SXSW kicked off on Friday, and if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume it’s because you’re not actually there. In any case, it’s always fun to poke through the website and browse through the interesting folks who’ll be making appearances. We’re particularly intrigued by the Dev & Code, Intelligent Future, Tech Industry, Startup Village, and VR/AR tracks.


Multiple delays have postponed the launch of SpaceX’s Echostar 23, which is now set to launch no earlier than March 14. Spaceflight Insider reports,

When it does fly, the EchoStar 23 mission is likely to be the last launch in which SpaceX uses a planned expendable first stage. Because the payload is heavy enough and is being placed into a high-energy geostationary transfer orbit, recovery is not a viable option.

The launch window opens at 1:34am EDT on the morning of March 14.


Tardigrades in action with Sota 🙂

A post shared by @Dailylaurel (@dailylaurel) on Oct 6, 2016 at 11:43pm PDT

Our friend Daily Laurel sent us this video, finding tardigrades on the streets of Japan. Looks like a pretty fun activity and tardigrades, also known as water bears, are pretty darn cute.

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