A Clap-Activated Machine For All Your Applause Needs

Applause is greatly revered as a symbol of warmth and adoration from a crowd. TV shows that film in front of a live audience often cue their audiences to clap in order to generate the desired auditory atmosphere. Of course, you don’t have to rely on squishy humans to do all the work. [Dillon] built a machine of dubious utility – one which generates mechanical applause when activated by the sound of clapping. (Video, embedded below.)

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the project was built for a Useless Machine contest, but that doesn’t diminish its value as a learning exercise. An Arduino runs the show, using a microphone module to listen out for loud noises such as claps. If two claps are detected in the nominated timeframe, the machine begins to flash its “APPLAUSE” lights and clap its hands. The Arduino achieves this with the help of a relay, which switches on a motor spinning a belt-driven cam which seperates the hands. The hands are then pulled back together to clap via a length of stretchy bungee cord.

With an incredibly noisy drivetrain and somewhat amateur clapping ability, the sound coming from the machine isn’t exactly recognisable as “applause”. However, it’s a start, and it remains the best clapping machine we’ve seen this decade. If you’ve got your own under construction, consider dropping us a line. And if all this has you waxing nostalgic for the vintage Clapper circuit, you can always build one of those, too.

6 thoughts on “A Clap-Activated Machine For All Your Applause Needs

  1. The sound of the motor complete overwhelmed the sound that it should be making. I assume that was a clap… I just could not hear it. Therefore I understand the idea of using this for an entry to a useless machine contest.

    Other than that… I really love the concept of these contraptions that have no use in the real world but are lot’s of fun to think about, how to make them, construct them with parts from the junkyard and finally presenting them to the real world. Where in many case, they aren’t always accepted for what they are.

    1. Really, I hate advertising, but that is a special case. I higly recommend EVERYTHING on her channel. Great positive charge for a month, or even for entire life. If you dont get stroke from laughter or tears. You will find everything, from hands for iPhone and musical instrument made from teeth to converting Tesla to a truck. And of course a lot of Arduino. :)

  2. I can think of dozens of ways to improve it if you’re concerned about the sound of the hands clapping, but I love the primitive construction technique so much that the operation of it is far more entertaining than the sound of the clapping would be. I think the only actual change I would make would be to turn the machine around so the mechanism is visible at all times, or put it on a turntable and put a clear cover over the back to make it easy to rotate to see whichever side interests you the most.

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