Moody Useless Machine


If you ever get bored of trolling the internet seeking inspiration for your next big project, try a YouTube search of “useless machine”. After a few hours of watching these pointless, yet hilarious creations, we’re sure you’re going to want to build one. Luckily for us, [Arvid] documented the design of his moody useless machine to get you started.

Why is [Arvid's] machine moody? Well, to fully appreciate the emotional sensitivity of a useless machine, you first need to understand what it is they do don’t do. A one sentence explanation is all that is needed here; you flip a switch and the machine flips the switch back… that’s it. [Arvid] implemented a two servo system with a stand-alone Arduino, which allowed him to give his machine a “personality”. Sometimes the switch is thrown back quickly without argument, other times the machine throws a fussy tantrum.

Although the machine is useless, the electronics inside are anything but. To keep everything clean and innocuous looking, the machine is powered by batteries, so [Arvid] places the Arduino into a ‘sleep’ mode until the switch is toggled. The switch is configured as an interrupt on the Arduino, which when toggled, wakes the Arduino.  Once the Arduino is awake, it enables power to the servos via a power MOSFET, then everything’s ready to go; the machine makes its response and goes back to ‘sleep’. This was a great project, but believe it or not, things can get more useless, like with this advanced useless machine.

[via Hacked Gadgets]


  1. ausserirdischegesund says:

    Wow, that wooden case is really pretty!

  2. Eirinn says:

    Hahaha that’s cute! “I’m the apathetic destroyer! I shall annihilate you!….but not today…today i shall take a nap”.

  3. Bogdan says:

    I can’t believe I watched the whole video. Very funny the duel. Just… make the “mood” a bit more random so they don’t use the same “effect” one after the other.

    • jpa says:

      You mean “less random”; when it is completely random, the same effect is bound to occur twice in a sequence sometimes. But yeah, often it makes sense to check against that.

      • Rich Grise says:

        To me, it looked, at best, pseudorandom. The “dueling” ones were really kind of disappointing – the second one just echoed all of the first one’s moves.

        But the first machine I saw turn itself off was in the 1950’s. It didn’t have any smarts. The switch turned on the motor, and the mechanism sent out a little hand to turn off the switch, then retracted while the motor was coasting to a stop.

  4. r3 says:

    cat invasion and world domination prevented !! gotta luv

  5. ameyring says:

    It’ll be cool if they have PIR sensors so they will only open when humans aren’t around :)

  6. This is nothing to as close to moody as the one from a really long time ago:
    I’m copying and modifying the one I posted as soon as I can get all the parts sourced. Like Keven said, I was thinking, having it sense you are about to flip it and peek out. If you hold it, have it hit you. Or sense you coming and then move back a bit :P

  7. Colin says:

    Lego useless machine.

  8. Colin says:

    Nuts. The useless machine is the second video in the above posting. Sorry about that.

  9. Galane says:

    Someone should build one with more ways of turning off the switch like swinging a tiny baseball bat or hammer. Put a mirror on the bottom of the lid and bounce a laser off it which scans around to find the switch, then it brings out the normal pusher, baseball bat or hammer to turn it off.

  10. Telek says:

    That… is… awesome!

  11. How do we get one of these?

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