What is New in the Ben Heck Show?

See, how modding guru Ben Heck combats the spread of germs in hospital settings by modding a hand sanitizer dispenser into a motion detecting reminder system in the latest episode of “The Ben Heck Show.” 

The show comes with a support from Element14, a collaborative social community and electronics store.

Earlier, Ben combined a 1977 Atari console with an Xbox 360 laptop system in a recent episode of  the show. He worked on a custom mod for Atari to create an Xbox 360 portable laptop with the look and feel of a 1970s Atari console to help support the debut of new games based on titles, including Yar’s Revenge and Star Raiders. (Read: Ben Heck Builds Atari-Style Xbox 360 System)

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“Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are great tools, but how do we know if people actually use them?” asked Ben.

“This was a question submitted by one of our viewers and it turned into an interesting challenge for the show. I was able to mod an everyday hand sanitizer into an active tool to be used in the arsenal to fight the spread of infection in hospitals.”

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The idea for the hand sanitizer build came from show fan and physician Arun Mathews, to help prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Arun joins Ben to tackle the challenge on the show, building a dispenser featuring enhanced motion sensors, blinking LEDs and an amplifier, which gives hospital staff and patrons an audible reminder to wash their hands.

Ben also integrates a parallax propeller development board and SD card to log motion detected data, and a clock to log the time of hand sanitization compliance or non-compliance.

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“This episode offers something for everyone, from electronics enthusiasts to germaphobes,” said Alisha Mowbray, senior vice president of marketing, Element14.

“With his notorious DIY gusto, Ben takes his craft one step further, showcasing how modding a useful item can have a lasting impact in real-life scenarios.”

Ben rounds out the episode with some finishing touches on his pinball machine, including installing the screen and ensuring that all three processors – audio, video, and central processing unit – are hooked up and fully functioning.

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Show fans are invited to visit Element14 to register for a chance to win one of Ben’s recent builds, submit videos of their own builds, or to send Ben a challenge for a future episode.  

“The Ben Heck Show” is a bi-weekly online television series aired in English that’s dedicated to the science and art of system and hardware modding with a global audience of design engineers, students and electronic enthusiasts.

Sponsored by Element14, each episode spotlights Ben’s mods of popular electronic devices while educating viewers on the underlying technology powering each project.

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Rakesh Raman