“Giger Counter” Makes Radiation Detection Surreal

Here’s a quick question: are Geiger and Giger (as in H.R. Giger, designer of the Alien Xenomorph) pronounced the same? The answer is no. Nevertheless, the late artist has had his name mispronounced (for the record, it’s ghee-gur) by many over the years. [Steve DeGroof’s] friend posted a goofy tweet that gave him the inspiration to finally put a skeletal lid on the matter, the Giger Counter.

The innards are a Mightyohm Geiger Counter Kit. The external casing is where the true hack lies in this project, made from a 1:2 scale plastic skeleton model, flexible conduit, and dark metallic spray paint. Only the ribcage, some vertebrae, and part of the skull are used from the model. They are assembled in a delightfully inhuman fashion with some conduit wrapped around it and into the bottom of the ribcage for good measure. After some gluing and spray painting, the LED from the Geiger Counter kit is placed through a drilled hole in the skull while the board sits inside the ribcage. Getting the board in and out can be a little tricky, but it looks like the batteries can be changed without having to pull the whole board out.

Check out the video below to see the Giger Counter. If you want another hack inspired by H.R. Giger’s artistic vision, take a look at this Xenomorph suit we covered.  Or, if you can’t get enough Geiger counters, we’ve featured plenty of cool ones on this site.

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Halloween Links: October 30th, 2013

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Happy Halloween from everyone at Hackaday! To help you enjoy the holiday here are a few festive links:

[Mike Kohn] whipped up a set of motion tracking eyeballs to make his decor extra creepy.

There’s not much to this jet-pack costume but the results are pretty amusing.

The eyes on [Tim Butler’s] skeleton prop don’t follow you around the room, but they do use a PIR sensor to light up the skull.

Speaking of skulls, [Tom] is using some real skulls as decorations. He also added lights where the eyeballs should be, but he is using a photoresistor and comparator to turn on some LEDs.

[Clark] built a Mecha Robot Warrior costume for his son. With all of those LED strips we think he’ll be pretty safe when crossing the street!

And finally, [Jesse] added a lot to his prop in order to produce a Sinister Joker. That’s Joker-as-in-cards and not as in Batman. It’s got an IR distance sensor as a trigger, with a motor to move the wrist, lights for the eyes, and a sound shield to give it a disturbing voice.

Amazingly realistic skeleton prop

[Cjmekeel] spent weeks getting his Halloween display ready this year. The centerpiece of his offering is this full-sized motorized skeleton. But there’s a few other gems that he worked on to compliment it. There’s an old-fashioned radio whose dial moves mysteriously and plays a news flash warning of an escaped mental patient. He also spent a couple of dollars to outfit a crow with some glowing red eyes and a servo motor.

But the creepiness of the skeleton means you might not even notice those other props. He started with a rather boring looking plain plastic head and did some real magic to build up the rotting flesh and gaping wounds. Those penetrating eyes don’t hurt either. The head moves on a few servo motors which use random values and sleep periods for disturbingly jerky movements. Check out the video after the break to get a glimpse at what kept kids away from his house on Halloween.

This is just a build log and unfortunately there’s no post yet showing the finished product. If we can get enough information together we’ll try to run a follow-up.

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Skeleton does a Looney Tunes style song and dance

[Kevin Harrington] throws a curve ball with this skeleton in a coffin. Instead of going for the cheap scare, he conjures memories of old cartoons when the bony figure puts on a song and dance. When activated it leans forward to hang out of the coffin donning a tattered tuxedo and top hat. You can hear the servos working as they give jerky yet realistic motion to the tune “Hello! Ma Baby” in the true Michigan J. Frog style. Classic!

He figures it took about $36 in parts to put the skeleton together plus the DyIO module to control it from a PC. Four servos are used in total, connected to the skeleton with some steel cable. Connecting it via a computer makes it a bit easier to synchronize music with motion than just using a microcontroller capable of playing back audio would have been. Code is available from the site linked at the top, and a demo video is embedded after the break.

This would also have been possible by using an Arduino as a DMX controller.

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The Kinect Controlled Zombie Skeleton

Although there is no shortage of Kinect hacks out there, this one from Dashhacks seems especially cool.  According to them, the software part of this design uses a “modified OpenNI programming along with GlovePIE to send WiiMote commands to the cyborg such as jaw and torso movement along with MorphVOX to create the voice for the cybernetic monstrosity.” As pointed out in the video, this robotic zombie also has a “pause” feature, and a feature to loop movements like what would be done at an amusement park.

The other great thing about this hack is how well the skeleton is actuated via servo motors. Although it’s difficult to tell how many servos were used for this robot, it certainly has 10 or more degrees of freedom between the head, both arms, and the torso. To control all of this a hacked Wiimote and Nunchuck is used in conjunction with the Kinect. Check out the video after the break.

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Halloween Props: Talking skeleton in reaper robes

Here’s a great way to guard your front door on Halloween. [Sam Seide] built a motion controlled talking skeleton. The electronics are fairly straight forward, consisting of an Arduino, WAV shield, PIR motion sensor, servo motor for the jaw, and a couple of red LEDs for the eyes. But [Sam] did some really neat things in the design of the skeleton itself. As we saw with the puking pirate, he built the body out of PVC so that he can take it apart for easy storage. Under the reaper robe you’ll find a set of powered computer speakers that connect to the WAV shield. The servo motor is mounted in the skull and moves the jaw using a small wire arm. Since the whole thing is a bit flexible (thanks to the PVC), the torque of the motor causes the skeleton to move around, adding a touch of life. Don’t miss the well-made video walkthrough after the break.

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Halloween props: Skeleton springs from coffin

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[Tony’s] trying to scare the kids again this Halloween. This year’s creation is a skeleton that springs up from a coffin. His creepy coffin is built from plywood and in the classic style it gets narrower at each end. Inside, there’s a full-sized rubber skeleton affixed to a 2×4. Pneumatic rams are used to lift the lid and spring forth the skeleton from the dead.

He’s planned his performance well. The finished system uses a fog machine and looped audio for ambiance. A motion sensor detects innocent victims approaching, kills the music, opens the coffin lid, and adjusts the lighting. The coffin is right next to the door so when the doorbell is pushed and the skeleton springs upright this should scare the bejesus out of you. See how effective this in the video after the break. Continue reading “Halloween props: Skeleton springs from coffin”