Ousted 'Project Runway' designer takes on gadgets

If you're as addicted as I am to the Bravo reality TV show "Project Runway," you know that the adorable and talented young geek designer Diana Eng, who favors fashion that integrates technology, got the boot last week.

On the show, a group of designers battle through a series of fashion-related challenges to win $100,000 that they can use to start a clothing line. Eng, 22, may not have netted the grand prize, but she's moved on to a venture potentially even more compelling to us gadget-heads. Eng is co-hosting Switchit.tv, an online do-it-yourself show for girls that teaches how to use everyday objects to make accessories and apparel that embed technology.

Talking frame materials
Making a talking photo frame
requires these materials.

In episode one, Eng and her co-host Alison create a cute little picture frame that records voice messages. Push a button behind the frame to record the message; play it back by pushing a button on a little iPod-like case, made from a dental floss container, that's attached to the frame's front.

A growing number of sites--Chip Click, Techie Diva's Guide to Gadgets and Shiny Shiny, to name just a few--cater to gadget-loving gals.

With Switch, Eng and friends urge girl gadgeteers to take their interest even further by integrating electronics into their own uniquely styled creations. Doing so, however, apparently requires more than simple construction. Making the device featured in episode one, for example, requires 14 steps and a gaggle of tools, according to the Switch Web site, which warns that "in this project, you will be soldering for the first time, drilling, extending and stripping wires."

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