Not everyone can agree on what good music is, but in some cases you’ll find that just about everyone can agree on what is awful. That’s what the people over at Neo-Pangea discovered when they were listening to Internet radio. When one of those terrible songs hits their collective eardrums, the group’s rage increases and they just need to skip the track.
Rather than use a web app or simple push button to do the trick, they turned the “skip” button into a NERF target. They call their creation the Boom Box Blaster and made a fantastic demo
film video about it which is found after the break.
Inspired by a painting in the office, the target takes the form of a small hot air balloon. The target obviously needed some kind of sensor that can detect when it is hit by a NERF dart. The group tried several different sensor types, but eventually settled on a medium vibration sensor. This sensor is connected to an Arduino, which then communicates with a Raspberry Pi over a Serial connection. The Pi uses a Python script to monitor the Arduino’s vibration sensor. The system also includes some orange LEDs to simulate flames and a servo attached to the string which suspends the balloon from the ceiling. Whenever a hit is registered, the flames light up and the balloon raises into the air to indicate that the shot was on target.
The Pi was required in order to interface with the group’s streaming music service of choice; Sonos. The Sonos API made it easy for the team to interface their target with the “skip track” function. They just wrote a Node.js script that runs on the Pi and sends the proper command as necessary. Now whenever the radio asks the group if they want to build a snowman, they can all answer with a resounding, “no!”. They just need to make sure they have enough ammo to spare. Be sure to check out the comical demonstration video on the project page.