Success of element14’s “The Ben Heck Show” reflected in multi-million strong fan base

element14, a collaborative social community and electronics store for design engineers and electronics enthusiasts, has confirmed that the first series of “The Ben Heck Show” has now surpassed all expectations in terms of viewing figures. The twenty episode run, which started back in mid September 2010 will draw to a close in a few weeks time. It has now notched up over 4 million views worldwide, when combining the tally from the element 14 website (http://www.element14.com) with those of other video posting sites such as YouTube.

Aired on a fortnightly basis, this groundbreaking online television series is dedicated to hardware modification. Sponsored exclusively by element14 and produced by leading Internet TV network Revision3, each episode tackles a different design project (many being based on viewers’ suggestions). 

Ben goes step by step through each project, giving useful design tips and pointing out pitfalls that should be avoided, as well as occasionally taking time out to answer fans’ questions. He mixes his innate modding expertise with a whacky sense of humor, plus countless jokes and references to various sci-fi films and popular culture.

The broad canon of work undertaken by Ben over the course of the series has included creating a portable CNC router; a wind-up charger for Android phone handsets; a pinball machine inspired by the hit TV show ‘Lost’; a ‘pimped up’ workbench with everything that a modern engineer needs; an automatic, solenoid-powered can crusher; and a T-Shirt with an integrated display, based on the popular computer game ‘Portal’, which creates the illusion that it is possible to see straight through the person wearing it. His automated hand sanitizer system is aimed at combating hospital-acquired infections – thanks to integrated motion sensors, it can detect when medical operatives are passing and then audibly remind them to wash their hands.

An avid gamer, many of Ben’s modification endeavours are concentrated on this area. In one episode he develops a military grade PS3 games console for troops stationed overseas, while another sees him put together a portable Sega CDX. Merging the latest gaming technology with ultra-chique retro styling, he recently constructed a hybrid consol which had XBox 360 functionality but came in a 1970’s Atari enclosure. He also made modifications to the ‘Rock Band Stage Kit’, to create four synced stage light modules and add control buttons to the game microphone. In his most recent TV appearance, Ben manages to transform pieces of common gaming equipment into an innovative game share system (made up of a pair of controllers, a dance pad and a slam bar) designed to promote greater parent-child interaction in support of the Games for Health Project.

“The show, which has managed to build up a very sizeable following, has allowed Ben to bring modding culture to a whole new audience, so that engineers and hobbyists have the confidence to embark on their own modification projects – taking items of everyday electronic gadgetry and turning them into something totally unique” said Kevin Yapp, chief marketing officer, Premier Farnell. “This matches perfectly with the spirit we have looked to instil through the introduction of the element 14 community – encouraging greater levels of cooperation between engineers, supplemented by advice from our team of industry experts, to help each of them achieve their goals.”

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  1. John Boxall says:

    Kudos to element-14 for partnering with Ben to produce his show. It really is fascinating, amusing and I hope in inspires people to think about how they can work with the things around them – and do something. Good luck for the future!

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