A little fire breathing pony to call your own

[Lvl_joe] has been having a little fun with fire and an animatronic pony. The skeletal horse seen above is a child’s toy denuded of its original plush shell. That’s a good thing, because those synthetic fibers don’t play very nicely with flames. The toy originally retailed for around $300 bucks, but if you’re lucky, like [Joe], you can get one second-hand for $25 or less.

Since the horse is already motorized, it’s not too hard to patch into the drivers. Here an Arduino is used to take input from a Wii Nunchuck, letting you swing the fire sprayer to and fro. A grill igniter makes sure it’s not just spraying automotive starter fluid everywhere. You can hear the click of that tiny spark repeatedly firing in the demo video after the break. The starter fluid comes in an aerosol can. A custom trigger system holds the can in a PVC pipe, and actuates the valve with a Bowden cable.

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Pressure mapping sensor mat

[imsolidstate] built his own pressure sensitive mat. It utilizes two discs of copper clad board with a piece of foam in between for each of 64 sensors. As the foam gets compressed, the capacitance between the two pieces of copper changes, a measurement that is fairly easy to make with an analog to digital converter. The mat is being used to measure how well a horse saddle fits the animal. Data is read in through a serial port and then mapped using Excel. This prototype proves that the concept works but [imsolidstate] mentions that there’s room to improve the sensitivity and that there could be more noise filtering incorporated into the design.

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