Tweet-Powered Bat Removes Effort Required To Obtain Pinata Contents

A child filled game-launch event was happening in London and [Roo] was asked to use his serious making skills to construct a machine that would hit a pinata with a baseball bat. This is a great idea, well, because giving bats to a bunch of kids at a populated event probably wouldn’t end well. One of the characters from the game Skylanders is named ‘Painyatta‘ and that is whom the pinata is modeled after. Tweeting #HitPainyatta initiates a bat swing. The swing tweeter gets to keep any treats that happen to fall out.

The physical machine is pretty simple. Most of it is made of MDF and wood. A large base supports a tall, skinny box. Mounted on top is a large stepper motor with a long wooden arm holding an aluminum bat. Once a tweet came in, a moderator would check for offensive content (hey, there are kids around) using a custom Twitter API app, and if acceptable, the tweet would be displayed on an LED matrix while an Arduino controlled a stepper driver to spin the motor and swing the bat.

…no children were harmed in the making of this project…

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A Trojan Horse full of music

With a Sound + Vision exhibition coming up, the folks over at Seaweed Factory decided they needed something big. Somehow they landed on building a giant pinata that responds to being walloped with a stick by playing MIDI notes. The end result is called the Trojan Chorus. Instead of Greek soldiers, though, the pinata is filled with electronics and candy.

The pinata was constructed out of cardboard and more colored tissue paper than we care to imagine. The horse stands seven feet tall and was built with a little more structural integrity than a normal pinata. Check out the ‘making of’ video for the pinata here.

From what we can tell, the electronics are 24 contact microphones implanted all over the inside of the pinata. Impacts on these contact mics are recorded by a small dev board, transcribed to serial data, and sent to a computer. You can check out the electronics in action right here. A horse neighing MIDI notes may sound fairly weird, but similar setup could be added to make the Trojan Chorus cry out in pain.

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