Benjamin Heckendorn, who occasionally goes by Ben Heck on the Internet, certainly knows his gadgets. For two full seasons, Heck has hosted The Ben Heck Show, a series where he teaches viewers how to build useful mods for household electronics. With so much more to show his audience, Heck has returned for a third season of the show, which has debuted on Revision3.
Heck’s first hack (say that one five times fast) of the season is a device that helps encourage safe driving by preventing teens from texting while driving. As in previous episodes, we get to see the entire design process that Heck works through, from the initial brainstorming phase to the construction to the eventual implementation. Along the way there is plenty of dorky humor and a healthy supply of MakerBot.
Heck gained Internet fame thanks to his Xbox 360 mod which allows users to turn their video game consoles into laptops. He has since turned several other consoles into portable devices, and his modding savvy caused his show to get picked up by Revision3 back in 2010, with online modding community element14 sponsoring the program.
Revision3 and Heck have made some changes to the show. Most notably, new episodes will be released every week instead of every other week. The drawback of this seems to be shorter episodes; the texting device won’t be completed until the next episode. If you add the two episodes together, they should reach the length of one of Heck’s previous bi-weekly installments. Heck has also added new segments to The Ben Heck Show, including one where he rants about new technology and another where he fields viewer questions.
In the end, The Ben Heck Show is fun. Heck is truly a geek’s geek, whose attempts at humor come off as incredibly sweet, if only because of how dorky they are. The show almost feels like a Mythbusters for the tech age, with Heck’s assistants getting in on the lame jokes. The common presence of a Maker Bot makes the series worth watching on its own. Remember, those 3D printers will save the world one day.