This Sassy Art Installation is Like The Stanley Parable for the Telephone

Insert Customer Feedback Here

Imagine this. A phone on a nearby desk starts ringing. No one is around to pick it up, so you decide that you will be a good Samaritan and answer the phone. You are greeted by a slightly creepy robotic female voice asking you to complete a simple survey. Having nothing else to do, you go ahead and run through the telephone survey. As you start answering the questions, things start to get a bit… weird. The robot voice doesn’t like your answers. She actually disagrees with you, and she does NOT like being interrupted. Now she’s getting sassy with you! What is going on here?

Most likely you are the latest victim of Insert Customer Feedback Here, [Charles'] art installation. You see, that is no ordinary telephone. [Charles] actually removed the guts of an old telephone and replaced them with an Arduino. The Arduino periodically rings the phone, waiting for someone to answer. Once the phone is off the hook, the Arduino uses a Wave shield to start playing back the scripted audio files. All of the text-to-speech files and the various hold music files are played back with the wave shield. The Arduino is also hooked up to the 1, 2, 3, and # keys of the telephone keypad in order to read back the user’s responses.

From here on out the program acts as a sort of “choose your own adventure” game. The program takes different paths and responds in different ways depending on how the user answers the questions. Generally speaking, it will get more “irritated” towards the user if it doesn’t “like” your answers, otherwise it will get less irritated. The hold music will even change to become more or less aggressive.

It’s easy to draw comparisons to Portal’s GLaDOS due to the robotic female voice and to the narrator from The Stanley Parable for the “choose your own adventure” feeling. In fact, if GLaDOS and The Stanley Parable had offspring, this would surely be it. This project brings that same type of silly sarcastic humor to a different medium and it does it well. Be sure to watch the video of the system in action below. It really starts to get interesting around the 1:15 mark. [Read more...]

NES annoyance timer makes no friends at your work

mario-annoyance-timer

Still trying to solidify that reputation as the office Grinch? This project will let everyone know you’re a complete jerk in no time. It’s called the 8-bit Annoying Person Remover. It detects when someone enters your office at which point it starts to play the Super Mario Bros. theme song while the display counts down 400 seconds. Just like in the game the music gets faster at the end and when it stops they know it’s time to get the heck out.

The hardware inside isn’t too complicated. An Arduino and a Wave shield do most of the work. The song played is stored on an SD card and can easily be changed. There’s a speaker mounted under the top heat vent of the enclosure. The device defaults to displaying the time of day, but monitors a motion sensor on one side to detect when someone comes through the door. This also works when someone leaves, cutting off the music and resetting the display. Don’t miss a video of it in action after the break.

It’s as if this was made specifically for the Comic Book Guy

[Read more...]

Zelda engagement ring box seals the deal

Congratulations to [John Scancella] and his wife to be. Their recent engagement was aided by one of [John's] projects. Since [Betsy] is a big fan of Zelda, he thought it would be fun to present the ring with the Zelda music playing in the background. He and a friend combined forces to build what you seen in this image.

The music is played by an Arduino with the help of a wave shield. This is pretty much a one-use item so battery life was never a concern. A magnetic switch was used to detect when the box was opened and start the music playing.

You can see the full-sized images after the break, but we can tell that [John] went with a traditional engagement ring. We’re still waiting to see if 3D printed rings are going to catch on in the geek scene. If you just can’t give her anything but precious metal there’s always the idea of encoding messages on the band itself.

[Read more...]

Learn a new language with the Babel Fish

The Babel fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the strangest things in the universe. After inserting a Babel fish into your ear, it feeds off brain wave energy and excretes a matrix from the conscious frequencies into the speech areas of the brain. It’s invaluable as a universal translator, but until Earth is targeted for demolition we’ll have to make do with [Becky] from Adafruit’s Babel fish language toy.

[Becky]‘s Babel fish is still able to feed off the energy given off by language, but in this case the energy comes from a set of RFID cards on which Chinese characters are written. After waving these RFID flash cards in front of the Babel fish, a wave shield connected to the Arduino plays a recording of how the logogram on the flash card should sound when pronounced.

While it’s not a biologically engineered fish that simultaneously proves and disproves the existence of god, every human endeavor – learning a language included – needs more [Douglas Adams] references. You can check out [Becky]‘s Babel fish demo video after the break.

[Read more...]

RFID jukebox for the kids

[Dominik] built a fun musical toy for his daughter [Anna]. It’s a jukebox that lets her play her favorite tunes using RFID tags to select between them.

The project is simple, yet robust. The enclosure is a wooden craft box that you can pick up for a couple of bucks. Inside there’s an Arduino with a Wave Shield which handles the audio playback. An RFID reader takes input from the set of card-tags he procured. An internal Lithium battery powers the device, with a USB port for charging.

Sure, those guts have some cost involved in them. But there’s no LCD which can be broken, and we thing the boards will hold up well to abuse if mounted correctly. Plus there’s a lot of future potential here. When we saw the cards we thought of those toys which make the animal sounds (“what does the cow say… mooo”). This could be used for that with really young children. Then repurposed into this jukebox as they get a bit older. If you put the guts in a new enclosure it will appear to be a brand-new toy, right?

See a demo of the project in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

Halloween Hacks: Terrifying mask follows you everywhere

It’s less than 5 days away from Halloween and the projects to scare small children are pouring in. [Noel] sent in his robotic Halloween mask he’s been working on, and the only way his build could be any better is by placing it underneath a child’s bed.

[Noel] took the mask he used last year and stuffed a few styrofoam craft balls inside to ‘fill it up.’ Two LEDs and a PIR sensor were fitted into the eyes of the mask and a few more electronics added to the brain. A servo was fitted to the base of the project to turn the head left and right.

The build uses a Gizduino Arduino clone with an Adafruit Wave shield. After a little bit of wiring up the LEDs, PIR sensor and neck servo, [Noel] had a bit of coding ahead of him. He ran into a problem with the WaveHC and Servo libraries because they both used the same timer. After finding a another software-based servo libraries, he had a reasonably terrifying project to put in front of a bowl of candy.

Check out the video below for a demo of [Noel]‘s work.

[Read more...]

Rebecca Black running accessory also promotes running for everyone within earshot

Last Friday, Friday we caught wind of [gvillenave]‘s running accessory inspired by Rebecca Black, and we we we so excited, we so excited to bring this to you on Saturday, which comes after Friday.

[gvillenave] came up with the idea of using a song on the annoyance level of “Friday” to encourage a runner into keeping up a good pace. The concept is simple: if the wearer is running fast, the song will speed up. If the wearer is slowing down, the song will slow down and extend the agony.

The build uses an Arduino and [ladyada]‘s wave shield coupled to an accelerometer. [gvillenave] included the code, and also wired up some LEDs to a pair of sunglasses that blink more often as the runner’s speed increases. The wave shield has a 3.5mm jack for headphones, but [gvillenave] graciously wired a speaker in, “so that you can annoy people around you, and not just yourself.” All this is packaged in a very nice 3D printed enclosure making for a great looking project.

There’s no word on the effectiveness of the negative reinforcement aspect of [gvillenave]‘s build, but we suspect it will help her get down to the bus stop a little faster every morning.

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