Singing pumpkins

This Halloween table will sing a sweet serenade to spook your guests. Each of the animatronic pumpkins were quite easy to build, but you may end up spending a bit more time choreographing the performance.

Inside each Jack-o-lantern you’ll find a custom Arduino compatible board called a Minion board. These include a wireless connection which lets the system sync with the computer playing the audio. The pumpkins are fake, which means that can be reused year after year (unlike our LED matrix inside a real pumpkin). The mouth is connected to a servo with a short piece of bent wire, allowing it to flap along with the words of a song. You can see a performance of the Ghostbusters theme in the clip after the break.

A custom GUI was written in C# to aid in the choreography. It handles the playback of the song, with a few buttons that can be used to record the light and mouth effects. This ‘recording’ is then used to drive the pumpkins during a performance.

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[Vigo's] stare follows you wherever you go

To decorate the office for Halloween [Eric] decided to make [Vigo the Carpathian] stare at passersby. We hope that readers recognize this image, but for those younger hackers who don’t, this painting of [Vigo] played an important part in the classic film Ghostbusters II.

In the movie, his eyes appeared to be following anyone looking at the painting. [Eric] grabbed a Kinect and used Processing to recreate the effect in real life. The image is displayed on an LCD screen. A bit of work with Photoshop allowed him to cut out the eyes from the image, then create sprites which are moved by the Processing sketch. It’s reading data from the Kinect (so it knows where to ‘look’) which you can see perched on the top of the cubicle wall. The illusion is delightful, see for yourself in the clip after the break. We’ve already watched it a half-dozen times, and it looks like it was a real hit with the guests at the open house.

Can you believe they threw this together in just one day?

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