Halloween props: Servo eyes

If you’re wanting to spice up a Jack-o-lantern, why not give it some spooky eyes that will look around? [todbot] shows us how to set this up using an Arduino and 3 servos. His rig uses a hobby servo to control the entire head’s orientation and a smaller servo for each eye’s movement. Their motion is random, but quite convincing. He has them all stuck together with  popsicle sticks, but you would probably move the location of the large servo to rotate the entire pumpkin, or whatever other prop you put it all in. You can download the Arduino sketch and give it a try your self. We might suggest building a simple rack and pinion rig to rotate both eyeballs with  a single servo.

[via HackedGadgets]


  1. Jay says:

    Nice :D

  2. googfan says:


  3. Bodeddie says:

    Nice effect, but why 3 servos? It would be trivially easy to but both eyes on a linkage moved by 1 servo. Of course that wouldn’t work if you wanted the eyes to move independantly, but the video looks like they are moving in sync. Still a creepy effect. Put a trigger of some kind on them so they look toward you when you trigger them and they become REALLY creepy! Seen this done as simply as a pressure mat or as sophisticated as Polaroid Sonar sensors to actully track the victim. The simple way is to trigger them with an IR door trigger or a pressure mat and to look at the area of the trigger, then have them just slowly turn to give the Illusion of tracking. It really does work and when designing Halloween props, if you can keep them simple but still effective, then your budget stretches a lot farther! Still a nice job.

  4. Hackius says:

    Could we get some sort of forum where we can talk?

    It seems we all want to discuss how to improve hacks but all we have to work with is the comment system. It’s a strong knowledgeable community here at hackaday. A simple forum would do wonders and increase visits.

  5. Hackius says:

    As far as I know there’s no forum dedicated to hacking like we’re used to around here.

  6. Hirudinea says:

    These eyes should be mounted in a creepy portrait.

  7. googfan says:

    seriously. im gonna build that and put they eyes on a stack of money (that i saved with gieco)

  8. aztraph says:

    that’s a bit obvious goog, it was a little funny the first time, but i think that jokes been done to death.

  9. Tod E. Kurt says:

    Thanks for posting this!

    Regarding using a rack-and-pinion system for the eyeballs: it turns out creating a reliable rack-and-pinion system from scratch is kind of hard. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this, please let me know.

    Since I had a bunch of these little $3 servos, doing the “direct drive” thing, one-per-eyeball, was pretty cheap and gave me the capability of having the eyes go walleyed or crosseyed. Not that I show off that feature, as I wanted to demonstrate that having two servos move in synchrony was possible.

  10. gyro_john says:

    The soundtrack in your video mentions that the eyeball lamps are Blinkems.

    What are Blinkems? I Googled it and couldn’t find them.

  11. googfan says:


    BLINK-M’s are multicolor leds that can be programmed via a serial link.

  12. Tod E. Kurt says:

    gryo-john, the full blog post contains all the information.


    And more directly, BlinkMs are “smart LEDs” that my company ThingM makes. You can learn about BlinkMs by going to http://blinkm.thingm.com/

  13. tim link says:

    happy halloween , address and e mail and cell phone and phone from you ? , and from them ? , and what your e mail is from you ? , and from them ? ,

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