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Hands-on gadgets come with electronics lesson

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What technology gadgets do the experts love, or would love to have? CNN.com is asking experts in several fields about their favorite high-tech toys. This week, we asked MAKEexternal link magazine Senior Editor Phillip Torrone.

(CNN) -- Phillip Torrone is senior editor of MAKE, a magazine for do-it-yourself electronics enthusiasts and people who still like to take their toys apart to see how they work.

Torrone also is a contributing editor to Popular Science and recently started a laser etching business in New York.

He spends his free time building electronics.

Torrone shared some of his favorite gadgets with CNN.com:

1. MintyBoost USB chargerexternal link

Pretty much all the iPod and USB gadget chargers on the market aren't that efficient, and you certainly don't learn anything when you buy one of them.

My favorite gadget is the MintyBoost USB charger. It can charge just about any gadget you have, and you make this simple, $20, kit yourself. It all fits inside an Altoids tin, uses rechargeable batteries, and it's extremely efficient -- you'll get over 2.5 times more power than the 9V chargers you see everywhere.

I use it on my cell phone, music player and just about anything else that can be recharged via USB.

2. TV-B-Goneexternal link

If you're a prankster or occasional social hero, the TV-B-Gone might be for you.

The TV-B-Gone is a tiny remote that can turn off just about any TV in seconds.

I've had one on my keychain for years, and it's turned off (and on) TVs at airports, bars, restaurants, Laundromats, etc.

If you search online, you can also learn how to expand its range up to 90 feet and modify it so it can be worn inside a hat.

3. Epilog mini 24 35-watt laser cutterexternal link

What will you do with a 35-watt high-powered industrial laser?

What won't you do is a better question, as it's the multi-tool for the 21st century.

I use mine to cut my own plastic cases for projects and to laser-etch laptops, iPods, gadgets -- everything. I've even etched my Apple MacBook! If the $15,000+ price tag gives you sticker shock, you can always start a small business and use it to etch things for other people.

4. The Sakura open-source MP3 playerexternal link

For as little as $30 in parts, you can make your own MP3 player.

My grandparents told me how everyone used to make their own radios, so it seemed important to make my own MP3 player. Because it's "open source," you can improve it, modify it, hack it and always fix it yourself.

You've seen what one expert loves. What technology do you crave? Send us photos of yourself with your favorite gadget. (I-Report)


story.torrone.jpg

Phillip Torrone holds a MintyBoost USB charger. His Epilog laser cutter is in the background.

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