Nice Looking Countdown Timer for the Home Game Show Enthusiast

Every couple of weeks, [Roo’s] place of employment, TMW Unlimited, has a contest. This contest takes place in the form of a game show and the contestants have 30 seconds to pitch their current project to the group. A panel of judges vote on the best pitches. Winners receive cupcakes and drinks. Originally, stopwatches were used to keep track of the elapsed time, however, a stopwatch is not very game showy. [Roo] set out to make a countdown timer to add some authenticity to the bi-weekly event.

The main enclosure is a plastic fence post. Fifteen holes and 15 large LEDs are covered up by large plastic translucent spheres. End caps were designed and 3D printed to not only make the rig look good but also to serve as a speaker mount. Inside resides an Arduino that does the counting and turns off the row of lights, one every 2 seconds, as the countdown continues. A speaker not only ticks and tocks its way down with the lights, it also buzzes when time is up. Starting and resetting the timer is as easy as pushing a single button mounted on the case.

If you’ve already built a game show timer, you may want to check out this DIY game buzzer system!

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This robot can beat you at pointless games

We already know that robots can be smarter than us as evidenced by Watson beating [Ken Jennings] at Jeopardy, or Deep Blue beating [Garry Kasparov] at chess. Now [E024576] is striving to build a bot to compete at physical games.

For the challenge, he’s chosen one of the games from a television game show called Minute to Win It. This challenge is called Mad Dog, and lends its name to this robot. The goal is to pick up a ruler with two tic tac containers glued to it, then shake it until all of the candies are ejected from those containers. Check out what he’s come up with in the clip after the break. The machine is driven by a PIXAXE microcontroller, with input from an IR remote control. It reaches out, grips the ruler tightly, and shakes like there’s no tomorrow. Quite impressive, even if there’s very little purpose in its operation. That makes it the perfect task for robot, right?

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