Halloween came out of nowhere this year for me. I have not had the time to do much of anything having just moved into a new house, so I took it upon myself to quickly whip up something to get into the Halloween mood. I was at a local store and saw these little foam skulls for $1.50 and grabbed a couple. Its fun to see what can be made quickly, and now I have something to put outside when the trick-or-treaters arrive.
Parallax Infrared Motion Sensor #555-28027
ioBridge Control Module + Servo Smart Board (or arduino + motor shield, if preferred)
Mini-breadboard (I used my arduino protoshield from adafruit)
2 Red Leds
1 Sock (yeah, the hood is a black sock)
The object here was to simply make the skull do something when someone approached. I know this is FAR from original, but hey, I was pressed for time (and want to show that simple projects are really accessible to ANYONE) and didn’t want to do much planning. So, the project was born. I know I am not breaking any new ground here, but it didn’t detract from my bliss at annoying any co-worker who stepped in my office for the last 2 days. It did make the meetings more fun when the skull open his mouth to speak whenever a colleague would adjust their chair!
1- Took a saw to the lower jaw of the foam skull to detach it.
2- Bored 2 holes through the eye sockets out the back of the skull to run the LEDs and wires through
3- Attached 2 long wires to the LED leads (drop of solder on each lead)
4- Whipped up a little rig for the servo and skull to sit on
5- Glue gunned lower jaw onto servo rig
6- Used sharpie to color in jaw (previously white because of styrofoam) and teeth.
7- Ran wires appropriately: (Digital Output – Eyes, Motion Sensor – Digital In, Servo Smartboard -Channel 1)
8- Set up messaging and triggers on ioBridge (or read digital input and write outputs if using arduino)
Note: I was actually unaware that the messaging and triggers for ioBridge were there, and they are easy to use (basically following the mantra of the platform). For an arduino, a simple read from the digitalIO and write to a PWM output using the servo library would do the trick, no problem!
9- Put sock over the skull
10- Annoy co-workers or greet tricker treaters.
Serv O’Beer has found some interest online through being covered at Instructables, Engadget, Gizmodo, Make, and others. Of particular interest is its inclusion in the How 2.0 section of Popular Science April 2009 edition, and PopSci Online. Yeah, the 100,000 YouTube views are eyebrow-raising as well. We really appreciate all of the comments and suggestions, and those who laughed along with us at the “usefulness” of a machine that can pour us a REAL beer using an iPhone.
You can see that the v 2.0 Serv O’Beer has been plated for ridigity, and some additional braces added to provide for a more smooth pour. Also a high torque servo has been added to allow it to serve as a brake, rather than just a pushing arm, and then a brake (hence the high volume of head in the beer).
Again, thanks to everyone who has laughed, sat confused, rolled your eyes, or said “Dude, that is sweet. You need a better outlet for your spare time”. Mostly, the latter. Just a closing note: The servo and the ioBridge do the work, I just get to use my Construx for something again, and drink 3-4 beers trying to calibrate this sucker. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Check out the article in the April Issue of Popular Science.
Thanks again, everyone. I’ll pour one for you!