My friend Mike Howland and I enjoy playing around with little engineering problems, like how to set up a shop with heavy floor tools that can be easily moved and rearranged, or how to make a simple and cheap humidifier–stuff like that.  We’ve been playing with a challenge related to being in Spain.


Last winter I lost some weight during our Barcelona trip, just from healthy eating and lots of walking.   This year I’m hoping for the same, and that leads to the engineering problem.  Our apartment is pretty well equipped, but there’s no scale.  I do have a scale with me, though.

It’s a luggage scale that can handle maybe 100 lbs.  So, how can I use that scale to measure my own weight?

Ideal solutions use common, easy-to-find items.  The first things to my mind are levers (like planks), or pulleys, but neither of those are easily at hand.  I thought maybe some arrangement with a rocking chair?  And then I discovered a decent solution nearby.

All around Valencia there are playgrounds and workout stations.  I thought maybe I could use some piece of equipment I found there.  And sure enough…

Now, in case you’re thinking this is the geekiest post ever, here’s a picture to show you’re absolutely right.

I have no way to calibrate my scale, but I think it works.

Who says geeks don’t know how to have fun?