Ed. note: Senior Editor of MAKE magazine Phil Torrone joins us to celebrate more modern-day MacGyvers as we continue DIY week at Lifehacker. Today’s maker: entrepreneur and self-taught computer chip designer Jeri Ellsworth.
Pictured above, MacGyver of the Day: Jeri Ellsworth – Electronics hacker, chip maker, race car builder, pin ball machine maker, blowing-stuff-up’er…
Hi Lifehackers! MAKE is best known for sharing all the goodness of making things for yourself, learning new skills and many times, voiding warranties… Marcus Chan of the San Francisco Chronicle said we’re the “The kind of magazine that would impress MacGyver” – and that’s what this week is about. It’s a little known fact, but MAKE even has the creator of MacGyver writing at MAKE: Lee D. Zlotoff! Lee is a writer/producer/director among whose numerous credits is creator of MacGyver (you can see his articles here). Let’s dive in and meet today’s MacGyver – Jeri!
Jeri Ellsworth is an American entrepreneur and self-taught computer chip designer. She is best known for, in 2004, creating a Commodore 64 emulator within a joystick, called Commodore 30-in-1 Direct to TV. The “computer in a joystick” could run 30 video games from the early 1980s, and was very popular during the 2004 Christmas season, at peak selling over 70,000 units in a single day via the QVC shopping channel. She is a pinball machine aficionado and owns over 60 full-sized pinball arcade games.
Before we continue…
Jeri recently said in an email: “Of course I love fire and blowing stuff up. Then, there’s my addiction to pinball”. I’ve included some more photos, videos from her show and other odds and ends. Jeri inspires me to be more Macgyver-ish every day, and I’m sure she’ll inspire you too! Take a look at the many videos and projects she has online and make something!
The 52-Inch Etch A Sketch
Jeri builds a 52-inch Etch A Sketch from a HD projection TV, tent poles, golf tee and gear reduced motors.
And here’s the video about the Nintendo on a chip and C64 that Jeri installed into a purse. It used a LCD from a portable DVD player and an 8-amp hour battery, which lasts for nine hours.
DIY Pinball Machine
Homemade pinball machine she is working on…