Playing the piano may seem like nothing special to you, but what about playing it on apple instead of piano keys? Lin Hai, a 24-year-old graduate from Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, did exactly that with his homemade electronic board.
Wearing thick glasses and a simple T-shirt, Lin looks no different to other engineering students. But under his plain appearance lies a true geek heart.
When Lin was little, he loved disassembling things to look at how they work. Even though he often failed at putting them back together, his curiosity was never satisfied and he laid hands on everything, except computers.
“My parents told me not to disassemble computers because they’re expensive, so I researched the software instead,” says Lin. When he went to university, Lin chose a subject that was related to engineering and programming: automation.
Lin is a typical geek who often spends days in the laboratory inventing new things.
“I have a lot of ideas in my head. My biggest interest is realizing them,” says Lin. His inventions include a guide robot, an earthquake alarm and an electronic door lock. But his most successful invention is an electronic board he calls “Crazyer”, the one that turns bananas into piano keys.
Learn from Makey Makey
Lin Hai’s Crazyer electronic board was inspired by a similar device built by two PhD students at MIT. Their device is called Makey Makey, which turns everyday objects into touchpads.
Having seen a video, Lin was so impressed by the device that he searched for its website in the hope of buying one. It turned out to be a prototype, and Lin would have needed to wait for six months for the real product.
在看过一段介绍视频后，Makey Makey给林海留下了深刻印象，他搜寻官网想要入手一个。结果Makey Makey只是一台样机，林海要等上六个月才能买到真正的产品。
For most people, the story would have ended there. But for Lin, it was about to begin: “Why not make my own Makey Makey?” he thought. So he studied the video and website, trying to figure out how it worked.
“I found that the mechanism Makey Makey is based on was similar to that of the electronic lock I built before. The only difference was that the Makey Makey had an extra wire,” says Lin. With this vital clue and his automation expertise, it didn’t take long for Lin to understand how Makey Makey worked.
林海说：“我发现Makey Makey的工作原理和我以前发明的一个电子锁很相似。唯一区别就是Makey Makey多了一根线。” 凭借这一重要线索再加上他本身的自动化专业知识，很快林海就弄清了
From watching the video to building an electronic board and writing a program for it, Lin spent an entire month bringing Crazyer to life. His hard work paid off.
With the money he earns from selling Crazyer, Lin can give back to society. “Crazyer can help those who have lost their fingers or limbs,” says Lin. “With Crazyer, some people can use their feet or arms to use a computer.” Lin has helped many disabled people by building customized Crazyer boards for them.
Another benefit is that the money he earns can support Lin in inventing new things. “I’m thinking of adding new functions to Crazyer. I’m also working on a 3-D printer,” he says. Lin’s geek spirit is always striving toward new goals.