Gizmodo University: Guest Lecture

Illustration for article titled Gizmodo University: Guest Lecture

This week, Gizmodo University is proud to have a very special, super-secret guest lecturer! This is presented in addition to our normal curriculum and in conjunction with Sparkle Labs so step on into class and see who we've brought!


Good afternoon class. As you know, we were scheduled to begin Discover Electronics week 3: Sensors and Transistors. Well, that's not gonna happen. We have something better today, a little extra bang for your buck. In lieu of our regularly scheduled program, we proudly present Collin Cunningham from He'll be taking taking you on a brief roundup of key concepts we've covered so far before introducing some new electronic devices!

First up, let's take a another look at the LED, the Resistor, and Ohm's Law.


MAKE presents: The LED from make magazine on Vimeo.

The Resistor

MAKE presents: The Resistor from make magazine on Vimeo.

Ohm's Law

Alright, now that we've expanded our understanding of these basic concepts, let's move onto some new material; specifically, the inductor, the diode, the capacitor and the transistor.


The Inductor

That's an amazing little piece of technology. Who would have thought that a simple coil of wire around an iron shaft could be used to not only create an electromagnetic field but perform so many other useful functions as well? From smoothing voltage spikes to the wireless transmission of current, the inductor is a pretty handy device, wouldn't you say?


The Diode

The simplest of semiconductors, it ushered in the age of radio. It's the electronic valve that rectifies and regulates, the diode! Think of it as a one way valve for charge.


The Capacitor


MAKE presents: The Capacitor from make magazine on Vimeo.

The Capacitor: some are smaller than a dime, others are bigger than your fist. They're simple in design and all sorts of useful for storage, timing, and filtration. With or without an oscilloscope, play around with them and see what you can make!


The Transistor

The Transistor is a device used to electronically switch and amplify signals by harnessing the unique abilities of semiconductor materials. Don't worry if you don't fully follow the theory behind how it works, we'll be covering it again in a later lecture.


That's it for this week. We hope that these concepts are a little bit more clear and a little less intimidating with the additional review. We'll be back next week with lesson 3: Sensors and Transistors (really!) so be sure to do your homework over at
Also, if you happen to live in the greater New York Metropolitan area, check out Sparkle Labs first solo US show December 2nd, 2010 at the Gallery Hanahou in SOHO.


So...Instead of making a new tutorial on Transistors and Sensors you just posted Collin Cunningham's video tutorials? I thought most people learned that stuff last week?