5 different uses for your everyday electronics

Your ordinary electronics can be so much more than you think.

USB typewriter


Transform your dusty old manual typewriter into a modern computer keyboard by connecting it to your Mac, PC, or iPad. Depending on your skill level with a soldering iron, this can be a fun project, and with the “Solder-It-Yourself” conversion kit from instructables.com, it should take between four and five hours to complete. You’ll need a soldering iron and solder, a Dremel rotary tool for sanding, tweezers and pliers, a hot glue gun, wire and some tape. Though the kit works with the majority of manual typewriters, there are some exceptions. Check out usbtypewriter.com/compatibility.com to make sure your typewriter will work for this project.

Kinect internal inspector


It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Researchers created an augmented reality software called the “magic mirror” that’s able to retrieve the skeleton of a person standing in front of the Kinect in real-time and apply their custom code to see inside the person’s body. The procedure involves taking a computer tomography (CT) dataset, the volume visualization of skin from the CT, the volume visualization of bone from the CT, context and focus visualization, skeleton tracking using Kinect, and blending the data together to show the anatomy of one’s body in real time using the Kinect sensor. The focus point, called “the magic mirror” can be fixed to a certain point on a person’s body or it can move with the images created by Kinect. Just a fun way to check up on your insides from time to time.

Smartphone satellite


Google probably never had any plans for its Nexus smartphones to go into space, but that’s exactly what happened last year. The UK STRaND-1 satellite went into orbit in 2013 with a Nexus One at its core. Aside from being the first smartphone-powered satellite, it’s also believed to be the first satellite to take a 3D-printed part into space. Smartphones contain highly advanced technologies and incorporate a number of key features that are integral to a satellite, such as cameras, radio links, accelerometers and high performance computer processors.

Android babysitter


It’s time to upgrade but don’t throw away that old Android phone just yet. If you need an extra pair of eyes around the house, install an app such as IP Cam Viewer Lite, find a cheap Wi-Fi security camera on eBay, and use it as a nursery monitor to spy on your children.

Television phone charger


Can’t find a spare socket to charge your phone? That doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as you have a TV with a spare USB port. Though certainly not recommended by the manufacturers, some have found this little trick very useful. Just don’t expect high-speed charging, and be sure to keep the TV on to power the ports.

Ideas via techradar.com.

Written for Electronic Products.

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