Halloween Props: Servo Eyes

[flickr video =http://www.flickr.com/photos/todbot/3991211183/]

If you’re wanting to spice up a Jack-o-lantern, why not give it some spooky eyes that will look around? [todbot] shows us how to set this up using an Arduino and 3 servos. His rig uses a hobby servo to control the entire head’s orientation and a smaller servo for each eye’s movement. Their motion is random, but quite convincing. He has them all stuck together with  popsicle sticks, but you would probably move the location of the large servo to rotate the entire pumpkin, or whatever other prop you put it all in. You can download the Arduino sketch and give it a try your self. We might suggest building a simple rack and pinion rig to rotate both eyeballs with  a single servo.

[via HackedGadgets]

13 thoughts on “Halloween Props: Servo Eyes

  1. Nice effect, but why 3 servos? It would be trivially easy to but both eyes on a linkage moved by 1 servo. Of course that wouldn’t work if you wanted the eyes to move independantly, but the video looks like they are moving in sync. Still a creepy effect. Put a trigger of some kind on them so they look toward you when you trigger them and they become REALLY creepy! Seen this done as simply as a pressure mat or as sophisticated as Polaroid Sonar sensors to actully track the victim. The simple way is to trigger them with an IR door trigger or a pressure mat and to look at the area of the trigger, then have them just slowly turn to give the Illusion of tracking. It really does work and when designing Halloween props, if you can keep them simple but still effective, then your budget stretches a lot farther! Still a nice job.

  2. Could we get some sort of forum where we can talk?

    It seems we all want to discuss how to improve hacks but all we have to work with is the comment system. It’s a strong knowledgeable community here at hackaday. A simple forum would do wonders and increase visits.

  3. Thanks for posting this!

    Regarding using a rack-and-pinion system for the eyeballs: it turns out creating a reliable rack-and-pinion system from scratch is kind of hard. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this, please let me know.

    Since I had a bunch of these little $3 servos, doing the “direct drive” thing, one-per-eyeball, was pretty cheap and gave me the capability of having the eyes go walleyed or crosseyed. Not that I show off that feature, as I wanted to demonstrate that having two servos move in synchrony was possible.

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