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Twitter-enabled candy machine dispenses treats on command

twitter-enabled-candy-dispenser

[Michael Nilsson] and [Markus Olsson] were contemplating how to motivate members of their dev team when they came up with the idea of a candy machine that automatically dispenses treats when someone has earned it.

They picked up a candy machine, a continuous rotation servo and a controller, then got busy automating the dispenser. The mechanism behind the operation is actually pretty simple as you can see in [Michael’s] writeup. They disassembled the machine, removing the gear from the manual crank, attaching it to the servo. Once the servo was mounted place, they installed the servo controller and connected it up to a spare laptop.

The heavy lifting is done by a Ruby script that uses the Twitter API to scrape any mentions of @_macke_ or @sidpiraya. Incoming messages are checked for the words “give” and “candy”, triggering the machine to fork out some sweets.

If you think that their hard work deserves a bit of recognition, feel free to send them some candy by tweeting “give @_macke_candy” or “give @Sidpiraya candy”. Just remember to be considerate – nobody likes spam, not even candy machines!

If you’re interested in seeing the machine in action, be sure to check out the candy dispenser’s live stream at giveawaycandy.com.

Candy chucker – weapon, or advanced Halloween delivery system?

Now we know why kids in this neighborhood wear plastic Halloween masks instead of just painting their faces. They’re trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of hard candy spewing out the front of this candy chucking pumpkin.

The mechanism operates very much like a baseball or football throwing device. Now that we think of it, it’s also the same concept as the chicken launcher. There is a feed shoot that drops the projectile into the grips of two spinning chuckers. Those chuckers are built out of a couple of fans, with layers of fabric to account for different sizes and shapes of candy.

The video after the break shows some test firing. We love the sickening ‘whap!’ that the Werther’s Original (or whatever crappy Halloween offering they’re using) makes when it slams into the wall of the room.

This thing’s just begging to be mounted on a parade float, don’t you think?

[Read more...]

Computer aided cake decoration

This contraption lets you decorate your cake at the push of a button. It’s a stretch to call it computer aided as this is purely a mechanical monster, but we still enjoy the apparatus and see its CNC potential (we’re still waiting for that pizza printer to hit the market too). An icing syringe has been modified with a flexible hose on the business end. As constant pressure is applied to the plunger, the nozzle oscillates while the cake rotates. What results is a spirograph drawing on the top of your dessert. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Another push of the button and you get shiny silver orb candies joining in the party.

What, no video? Aw! If you know where to find a clip, let us know and we’ll update this post.

[Thanks Mowcius]

Cubicle-dwellers rewarded for reflexes

[StudioJooj] is trying to torture or test his colleagues in his office. A lot of folks leave a candy jar on their desks for all to enjoy but he’s making his friends work for their reward. Like cubicle-dwelling lab subjects, they must successfully navigate his maze to be rewarded with chocolate. The game piece is an amazingly orb-like peanut M&M candy. The maze is constructed from plywood and moves on two axis with the help of a couple of servos. The user interface includes a couple of NES console buttons to release the game piece and a PS2 joystick to control the maze. [StudioJooj] was nice enough to include a music video in his project clip.

We wonder the M&Ms will disappear faster or slower than they would from a candy jar.

[via SparkFun]

Complete the maze, get a gumball

This neat accelerometer controlled marble maze adds a level of fun to retrieving a gum ball. You have to first navigate the maze using a controller that has a dual axis accelerometer in it to control the angle of the platform. Though that does look like a wii accessory, there is no wiimote in there.  Only after you have completed it will the gum ball machine dispense the candy. [Dan] constructed everything himself, which might explain the lack of “pits” for the marble to fall into in the maze.

More details on the build and source code are available on his page.

[via hacked gadgets]

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