Tag Archives: 3ders.org

This 13 year old just made his own Google Glass

Kids and Teens today, thanks to the internet, are able to find all kinds of things online about how to build this or fix that or improve this and because of their insatiable appetite to learn they can find some pretty amazing ideas. One such company really hones in on the whole DIY (Do It Yourself) phenomenon with their MAKE magazine and website. I think this is probably one of the better magazines to invest in for your child if you know they like building things but also learning how things get built in the first place. The magazine and website shows you how to build your own robots or gadgets using things around the house.

Inspiration Inspired
Kids, by nature, want to learn and they want to go out and explore and parents who encourage them to explore usually wind up with a kid who has learned a lot on their own about how the world and things work. You can not rely on schools today to teach your child everything, or for that matter, inspire them to find what they enjoy doing so you must look for things that drive them. If you find that your child enjoys play-doh and you see they are really good about creating very realistic art work then to hell with all the mess they make in the process. Put your feelings aside and focus on the fact that your child is creating something amazing, and making a little mess in the process. What artists do you know who ever kept a clean place while working on something great? None, that’s just my point. If your son or daughter loves a sport and it’s because they want to do it (and not some over bearing parent making them like so many who do) then you should find programs that encourage them to get better.

As your child gets older and hits the teen years they are going to want to explore even more and that means spending more time going out and buying stuff or visiting places that have people who share the same interests. Getting home after work shouldn’t be about staying home and relaxing, what it means to the kid is that they should be able to rely on the parent to take them where they need to go. The kid I’m about to introduce showed a pattern in his upbringing that needs to be brought to light and what that meant for a kid like him growing up.

It all Started with a book on How Things Work
I can relate to this kid because I used to have so many books growing up that explained how the world worked. One of my favorite books to read was this 1000 answers to science questions book I had. It was huge and had pictures for every answer it provided. I would sit and read and re-read that book. I think I still have it somewhere but it was books like that that my grandma would buy me that taught me alot about science, nature, weather, the human body, and so much more. You can see a trend here of the impact grandparents can have.

Clay Haight said that his grandpa bought him a book that explained how things worked and how to repair everyday appliances; very helpful skills for saving money. Using all the knowledge he learned about how to put things together and take them apart he built on that to create his own things at home. The advancement in being able to print things at home allow kids like Clay to be able to create something on the computer and then print it out at home. This simple power has allowed so many people around the world to share their own 3-D projects. In an article I written previously about a teen who helped their friend by printing out a hand for him since he didn’t have any fingers goes to show the power of what 3-D printing has done for the world. You can also learn about all the advancements in 3D printing from 3ders.org.

Once Clay got a firm grasp on how things work and put together and taken apart he could then apply that to electronics and robotics which he did. He taught himself programming with the help of the popular Arduino boards, which his first one happened to be a Uno. Then he moved up to Mega, Esplora, Mini, Ardweeny, Mintduino, and then even his own home-built Arduino board. He expanded his knowledge and understanding of programming by learning what these little boards were capable of doing and because he was just a kid he had all the time he needed to spend countless hours seeing how they all fit together on a breadboard.

Inspiration Meets Action
Being inspired is one thing but knowing how to take it to the next level is another. If you look at what Clay was teaching himself, probably with books by Michael McRoberts Beginning Arduino and Brian Evan’s Beginning Arduino Programming, you start to get an idea of how easy it can be to learn how to make your own gadgets. Another simple way he could have learned was just by using YouTube, where there are thousands of tutorial videos on just about everything, including how to program an arduino board and Getting Acquainted with Arduino. These two videos just by themselves can help anyone get familiar with Arduino and how to use one all for free.

Clay took all the knowledge he learned from those materials (and when I say “those” I don’t mean them in the literal sense, I don’t know what exact resources, besides MAKE, that he actually used) and then applied them into one project. That project being to create his own version of Google Glass. All the articles online about Clay explain that he even created the frame of his device with his own 3D printerbot simple, something he saved his money up for which the cheapest one runs for only $349.

Clay’s practice with his boards allowed him to understand what parts he needed in order to build his own google glass. He used a Arduino Esplora and Arduino LCD screen, which is similar to this one but not the same model, in order to build the whole unit. The senors on the Esplora allow him to speak to his device which allow him to be able to bring up his calendar, local map, temperature, weather, and even his schedule. Not bad for a little device that costs way less than the $1500 price tag that a regular pair of Google Glass cost. You can watch a video below to see what his final product looks like. For a 13 year old it’s very impressive.

There is no age limit for being an Entrepreneur
The story of Clay and how he took what he learned on his own shows a perfect example that you don’t need to be an adult if you want to build things on your own. Many people think they need to go to school, get all these expensive degrees before you can really jump into business. They believe this because they think that you need to know everything about business, which they believe business will teach you and (if this is the first time hearing it) that is not their job. Their job is to provide with you the basic foundation of how businesses work and how they operate but they do not teach you how to innovate and build the next greatest company. It is also important to understand that you don’t need a business degree to start your own company either, infact there is not even any connection between those who graduate top of their class and success later on. So why go to business school? The best business program you can enroll in is starting your own company on your own and learning step by step.

There are kids all over the world now who have made the news like Clay for creating things on their own and then there are teenagers like this guy who just sold an app to yahoo for $30 million dollars. What makes these kids different from everyone else? They didn’t just sit there saying they wanted to do something and never doing it. They worked hard at it and kept at it even when they made mistakes. They went out and tried it and they kept at it until they got it right.

Infact, the teenager who sold his app for $30 million, which many believe was overpriced and not worth it, only got that because he was persistent in getting his app reviewed by a famous website. It was the influencer effect of that website that caught the eye of Yahoo which led to the $30 million dollar offer. There is always a cause and effect (chained linked effect) of how something small turns into something big. You could be working on the next big thing but if you do not know how to get it into the hands of influencers then your idea will continue to sit there going unappreciated until you do something about it.

Nothing happens without hard work so for all your well-wishers who want to be entrepreneurs and strike it rich nothing happens just sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Take it from this 13 year old who sat in his room and worked on his projects until he got them right and for that he now has fame to show for all his hard work. I’m sure the offers (and money) will soon start to pour in for him. Just remember though that majority of the kids like Clay and those that run their own businesses they are all self-taught.

To read more about Clay click on the links below and how to get started with learning Arduino or learn how electronics work

News Articles
MAKE DIY Yourself Google Glass

13 Year Old Just Created his own Eyewear

This 13 year old made a DIY version of Google Glass

Build your own Arduinos
You can purchase Arduino boards from Radio Shack, Frys Electronics, and any electronics store. There are many online stories that carry them as well. You can check out the main site for Arduino and learn how to get started from the main source.

Arduino Website


Learn Electronics the Easy Way with LittleBits, the lego version of electronics.

Find out how LIttleBits is encouraging more kids, and adults, to learn how to build electronic components just like they would a Lego house or ship in another article I wrote about.

LittleBits is now Cloud Enabled

Do you need a hand? Let me print one for you

[Article Updated 2/19/2015]

It might sound like something from a sci-fiction movie but it’s not. Technology is moving so fast that we now have the ability to create all kinds of things that 5 or 10 years ago you could only purchase from a manufacture who specialize in custom jobs. Now you can make your own objects, toys, products, and even body parts from the comfort of your own home.

Using various instructions and videos online one could easily teach themselves how to use a 3-D printer. If that sounds like too much work, you can always visit a Techshop or Hackerspace where people can come in and build anything they want and learn how to use all their equipment including 3-D printers. You can get hands-on experience designing specs and then putting them into the printers to print out whatever you like. Then when you feel comfortable enough on your own to use it you can create some pretty amazing things for people. That is what these students did for others who were not so fortunate in life but thanks to the amazing possibilities that 3D printers bring, it’s made it affordable to be able to get body parts made on the cheap.

Story 1
Matthew Shields’ was your typical 9-year-old boy; he loved to play sports, hangout with his friends and do boy stuff. The only difference was that Matthew was born with an undeveloped hand with only a thumb. A family friend, Wilde, who is a 16-year-old from Louisburg High School junior decided to help him out. He knew about this website that had designs for prosthetic  hands called Robohand. This website has helped thousands, if not millions in the coming year, gain back the ability to use their hands again. Wilde knew his local library, Johnson County Library, had a 3-D printer so he went over and uploaded the designs he downloaded from Robohand and after taking 8 hours, gave the hand to Matthew who has now been able to use it in his life, enabling him to feel like a regular person.

Additional Links
Video Story
Kansas City News
Kansas City Star
3ders Story

Story 2
Engineering students can create some pretty amazing things and for one 8 year old, it was something that allowed him to do the things he enjoys the most, playing sports. The students at Westtown school were studying how to use 3-D printers to create things and one of their projects was to create a prosthetic hand. They said it took awhile but after it was finished it give new life to the 8 year old, Steele Songle, to be able to do the things he enjoys.

Story 3
Boylan High schoolers have enabled a little girl, Kylie Wicker, who is 9-year-old girl to be able to use her hand again. The high school had a 3-D printer donated to the school, in which Bud May the engineering graphics teacher, taught himself how to use. The school got an educational license to teach 3-D printing technology. When the students found out about Kylie, they offered to print out a hand for her, two infact in different colors (one in pink and one in purple). The students were all supportive when asked if they wanted to learn how to make 3-D objects. How the school got involved was the father of Kylie, Jeromy, did a search online because he heard about a dad who had made a hand for his son and when he found a local school had a 3-D printer donated to them he asked if they would help. The students in the class took on the challenge and this week little Kylie will be getting her new hands. Both Jeromy and Sharon knew they wouldn’t be able to afford the expensive costs that go with buying prosthetic parts, an industry that will eventually realize they will have to come down in price if they want to compete any longer, because their insurance would only cover 80%. Looking online and finding the school has saved them a lot of money, the total cost Kylie’s parent’s will be paying is $20 dollars.

The school has now gone on to offer their services for other kids in similar situations. A great thing to say your a part of on your college application for any student who is apart of that project.

ABC News Story
Khon News Story
BusinessInsider Story

If you are really interested in learning about Robohand and how it has gone one to change people’s lives, you can check out their website. The story of how it all got started was that one day Richard van As was working with wood when he sawed off his fingers. He is from South Africa. He met Ivan Owen who is a mechanical special-effects artist from Washington state. They worked together to create a mechanical finger in 2011 and from there they created the website Robohand for anyone to access and download what they created.

MakerBot has also created their own collection of hand deigns for people to use and download. You can see the different designs on their website Thingiverse and if you need help assembling the Cyborg Beast hand you can watch this video below to learn the process yourself.

These boys show just how impactful having an arm or hand can be and what it means to them.

Boy Gets Trooper Arm

Boy Gets Prosthetic Hand from 3-D Printer

Learn about Cyborg Beast Prosthetic Hand

Entrepreneurs find solutions from everyday setbacks. Yours could come from a small thing in life that you dread doing or maybe a way to improve something that just needs a little tweaking. Entrepreneurs are resourceful. They find new ways of looking at something and then go out and create it. If Richard Van As was a true capitalist, he would have tried to make money off of his 3-D designs, instead he knew the struggles of what it’s like not to be able to use any of your body parts. What he did for the world was a very generous deed that many people all over the world have been able to benefit from. He didn’t worry about trademarks or copyrights, he put it out there for the world to use because people needed it and for that he is rewarded by the recognition he deserves.

If you would like to be apart of this growing movement to help kids connect with engineers and people with 3-D printers you can contact the non-profit organization, E-Nable, which was started by Jon Schull in 2013. They connect volunteers with kids who need help getting a prosthetic hand made that is affordable. Their program has helped trained tons of people in learning how to download the designs and upload them to 3-D printers to print out and then assemble.

The website also offers a tool for parents to use in helping find the right size for their child’s hand. You can use the Hand-o-Matic online tool to find the right size. You can also contact a volunteer to help you with the whole process so you don’t end up getting the right design files. If you print out the wrong size it won’t fit your child’s hand correctly.

The look on people’s faces who need body parts is worth the effort to be apart of this growing trend. The cost of real medical prosthetics is too costly, especially for kids who will outgrown them in a few years, so parents have looked to the internet and found many options that are cheap and easy to learn for themselves. Be sure to check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on events, including their Twitter page.

Jon Schull said it best when he gave a speech about the importance of what it is he is doing for kids.

If you would like to be a part of this growing movement and help a child get a hand for free then you can click here to learn how to become a volunteer for E-Nable. John Hopkins now gives kids free hands who request them as well.

News Articles

Six-year-old Joseph Gilbert of Chester, N.Y. can thank the power of 3-D for giving him a hand that he can use since he was born without any fingers on his left hand.

3-D Printing Prosthetic hands that are anything but ordinary

Need a Hand? There’s a printer for that

3-D Printed Car

3-D Printer News/Links

3Ders.org – Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube, Google+

UltimakerFacebook Page, Twitter


Dremel 3D Idea Maker

Instructables 3-D Printing


Autodesk 123D



My Mini Factory


Maker’s Bot Digital Store

Google 3D Warehouse