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.