Alexa, Shoot Me Some Chocolate

[Harrison] has been busy finding the sweeter side of quarantine by building a voice-controlled, face-tracking M&M launcher. Not only does this carefully-designed candy launcher have control over the angle, direction, and velocity of its ammunition, it also locates and locks on to targets by itself.

Here comes the science: [Harrison] tricked Alexa into thinking the Raspberry Pi inside the machine is a smart TV named [Chocolate]. He just tells an Echo to increase the volume by however many candy-colored projectiles he wants launched at his face. Simply knowing the secret language isn’t enough, though. Thanks to a little face-based security, you pretty much have to be [Harrison] or his doppelgänger to get any candy.

The Pi takes a picture, looks for faces, and rotates the turret base in that direction using three servos driven by Arduino Nanos. Then the Pi does facial landmark detection to find the target’s mouth hole before calculating the perfect parabola and firing. As [Harrison] notes in the excellent build video below, this machine uses a flywheel driven by a DC motor instead of being spring-loaded. M&Ms travel a short distance from the chute and hit a flexible, spinning disc that flings them like a pitching machine.

We would understand if you didn’t want your face involved in a build with Alexa. It’s okay — you can still have a voice-controlled candy cannon.

10 thoughts on “Alexa, Shoot Me Some Chocolate

    1. Or a short one, if a high-velocity M&M lodges in his throat.
      Fun though this is, and impressive to get it working, but games like this do occasionally cause accidental deaths, particularly among kids. This isn’t something you want to let your guests try.

      1. Those of us old enough remember the change made to projectile shooting toys in the late 1970’s when a toddler choked on a missile fired by a sibling’s Battlestar Galactica toy.

        The toys (or at least the plastic missiles) were recalled and new production had the missiles fixed so they’d pop out only about 1/8″ when the release buttons were pressed.

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