10 Ingenious DIY Designs ... By Prison Inmates


Angelo, Temporary Services

Who knew that inspiration for remaking our things -- and perhaps by extension, even our country -- could come from prisoners?

Then again, prison life comes with minimal resources, to say the least. To make the most of them, impromptu incarcerated inventors have long improvised with what little they have. (I'd like to see what Chinese prisoners could do.) Fashioning your own tattoo gun with a battery or sculptures from candy wrappers (see above) sure beats making license plates (or recycling computer parts for Dell). With a big nod to Weburbanist and Dornob, which first covered this a couple weeks back, here's a look at some inventions that give new meaning to the term self made man.

A radio transmitter hidden inside a book can be used to communicate between cells.

While some inmates use razor blades to etch the skin before rubbing ink in and some use a paper clip or staple to embed the ink, others learn to make an improvised tattoo gun. It only needs is a power source (like batteries), a small motor (like the N64 rumble pack), and a piece of sharpened wire.

Chip Jarrett's motorcycles, made from cardboard, soap, paper clips and other found objects, have been shown at several prison-themed art shows and sold to collectors. A true insider artist.


More wacky and useful designs on Page 2

Best of TreeHugger