My project: Let's say you're an average Joe evil genius trying to make a sentient nanoswarm in your underground lair. How do you see the little guys to prove you've succeeded ...or troubleshoot in the unlikely case of failure? Traditionally, you'd need a $30,000 microscope to accomplish that task.
Let's say you don't have that kind of cash on hand (your take-over-the-world plots haven't been terribly lucrative since the start of the Great Recession), what's an evil genius to do?
You could make an inexpensive scanning-tunneling microscope from scratch, but the projects out there for you to follow are out of date, analog-only, spread out across many theses and papers, and/or poorly documented. Frustrations abound.
Enter the Chemhacker Open Source Scanning/Tunneling Microscope (STM) project: a project whose goals are to produce an easy to assemble digital scanning-tunneling microscope, with well documented software and hardware designs, for a complete cost of about $1000.
Me: Mad scientist who knows how to complete large/weird/technical projects. A portfolio of large/weird/technical projects I've completed: simpleswitchlabs.com
MS Chemical Engineering, U.C. Berkeley
Founding member, 2009 board member, 2010 president of Pumping Station: One, Chicago's Hackerspace extraordinaire.
How I'll pull it off: Using tools and expertise available at Pumping Station: One, I'll assemble the microscope prototype, troubleshoot my design, and prove that this is a realistic goal.
Funded by Chicago, IL (October 2011)