[Matt Vella] has had a talking, non-posable skeleton knocking around for years. As cool as that sounds, [Matt] is really tired of its three stock phrases. Fast forward to this year — [Matt] got a posable skeleton and decided to go all out on this, the hackiest of all holidays. The result? Hack Skellington.
Between the eye socket-mounted camera, the speaker, and servos in the head, jaw, and one arm, Hack Skellington is decked out to scare trick-or-treaters (or anyone who gets close enough) in modern fashion. Thanks to ChatGPT and an AI-generated voice, Hack can recognize people and welcome them by name, look people in the eye, or simply move its arm when someone gets too close.
The brains of this operation is a Radxa Zero SBC programmed in Viam, though any SBC with Wi-Fi, GPIO, I²C, and USB should work just fine. [Matt] only spent about $150 total, half of which went to the skeleton itself. Be sure to check the spooky action out after the break.
You have until 9 AM PT on Tuesday, October 31st to enter the 2023 Halloween Hackfest. Procrastinators unite! Don’t want to animate a whole skeleton? Come to think of it, a severed, animated hand is even creepier, anyway.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Hack Skellington Is The Life Of The Party”
This may look like another DIY mechanical keyboard, but it’s hiding a secret. [Mx. Jack Nelson] has combined Halloween and keyboards in glorious, haunted fashion. Type a line, any line into this bad boy and you get a spooky, sort of cryptic response generated by AI.
Essentially, a Raspberry Pi Pico W does all the work, it handles the keyboard matrix, connects to Wi-Fi, sends the input to ChatGPT, and spits the response out on the screen wherever the cursor happens to be. Incidentally, it turns out [Mx. Jack Nelson] used ChatGPT to generate much of the CircuitPython code.
The layout is a custom 40% that is heavily influenced by the Akko 40%, with the Ctrl, Alt, and Win keys replaced by Ctrl, Cmd, and Opt. This was [Mx. Jack Nelson]’s first PCB, and you never forget your first. You don’t want to miss the demo video after the break.
Are keyboards just not spooky enough for you? Here’s a creepy baby doll that does basically the same thing.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Haunted Keyboard Is Free From Ghosting”
If you know, you know. After becoming fully engrossed in the sci-fi psycho-thriller “Severance“, [Ben Brooks] absolutely needed to have a version of the ominous speaker known as the Board.
This speaker represents the Board, who is the enigmatic governing body of Lumon Industries, the fictional and gigantic biotechnology company featured in the show.
The Board cultivates an air of mystery by rarely speaking, and when it does, it speaks through a single person who paraphrases the Board’s responses. The audio that comes out is a mix of the show’s theme song, pertinent show quotes, and static.
The guts of this freaky little thing are pretty simple — an ESP8266, a DF Player Mini, and a couple of small speakers. In fact, [Ben] had all the parts leftover from a previous home automation project, including the PCB.
Although the original plan was to program it in Arduino, [Ben] ended up using ESPHome to make it easier to integrate with sensors for the big night. Be sure to check out the demo video after the break.
We’ve seen a few fun hacks for the porch this year, including the treat trough of terror and this Ouija robot that out-creeps the real thing.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: A Spooky “Severance” Speaker”
We once thought that the best houses on Halloween were the ones that gave out full-size candy bars. While that’s still true, these days we’d rather see a cool display of some kind on the porch. Although some might consider this a trick, gaze into [Tim]’s mirror and you’ll be treated to a spooky version of yourself.
Here’s how it works: At the heart of this build is a webcam, OpenCV, and a computer that’s running the Stable Diffusion AI image generator. The image is shown on a monitor that sits behind 2-way mirrored glass.
We really like the frame that [Tim] built for this. Unable to find something both suitable and affordable, they built one out of wood molding and aged it appropriately.
We also like the ping pong ball vanity globe lights and the lighting effect itself. Not only is it spooky, it lets the viewer know that something is happening in the background. All the code and the schematic are available if you’d like to give this a go.
There are many takes on the spooky mirror out there. Here’s one that uses a terrifying 3D print.
What could be better than a Halloween decoration? Something more perennial, or even something that could also be found in a classroom or lab. Something like [Markus Bindhammer]’s spooky muscle-brain interface. It was inspired by a series called “Tales From the Loop” in which a character’s muscle electrical activity is measured in preparation to adjust his prosthetic hand.
Essentially, it does what you think it does: attach the sensors to your muscles, move them around, and watch the brain light up. [Markus] started with a children’s learning kit that involves molding the brain and discs out of red rubbery goop, the vertebrae out of plaster, and then assembling the whole thing.
Instead, [Markus] molded the brain and vertebrae in two-part silicone for durability, and used two-component colored epoxy for the discs.
As the inspiring series is set in the 80s (we assume the brown, dingy 80s and not the fun, neon 80s), [Markus] gave the enclosure/stand an appropriate color scheme. Inside that box there’s an Arduino Pro Micro, a Grove EMG detector, and a mini step-up converter module. And of course, under the brain, there’s a NeoPixel ring. Don’t miss the build and demo video after the break.
There are a ton of things you can do with blinkenlights for Halloween. How about a light-up candy slide, or a bucket that seems them coming?
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: A Spooky Muscle-Brain Interface”
On Halloween, some people can’t or don’t want to open the door for various reasons. Maybe they have a cat that likes to escape every chance it gets, or maybe their favorite TV show is on during prime trick-or-treating time. Whatever the case, we think it’s perfectly acceptable to leave a bowl of candy outside the door, especially if there are electronics involved.
In this case, the bowl detects trick-or-treaters and candy eaters using an LD2410 60 GHz radar sensor and an RP2040. A light pipe shows orange when a person is detected, and switches over to green as they come closer, as if to say you may have candy now.
Nothing happens after that, but now that we think about it, it would be cool to add an MP3 decoder and a speaker to play a little witch cackle or something once they’ve had a chance to stick their hand in the bucket.
[Mike Kushnerik] actually designed the PCB a few months ago for non-Halloween purposes: some home automation projects. But then they were trying to think of something for Halloween, and this delightful light-up bucket came to mind. In addition to the RP2040 chip, there’s a 128 MB flash chip, a WS2812 LED, and a header for communicating with the radar sensor over UART. Be sure to check out the brief demo video after the break.
If you’d like to stand outside and give out candy, at least send it down a light-up slide or something.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Candy Basket Sees You Coming”
Halloween is many things to many people. For some, it’s a chance to dress up and let loose. For others, it’s a chance to give everyone in the neighborhood a jump scare. For [Aaron], it’s the perfect time to put on a show in the yard with some musical, light-up jack-o-lanterns.
[Aaron] came across some deeply-discounted light-up jack-o-lanterns a few years ago. They all had one of those Try Me buttons that’s powered by a couple of coin cells and uses a temporary two-wire connection to the PCB, and [Aaron] figured he could remotely control them using this port of sorts.
Now the guts are made of addressable RGB LEDs that are connected through the battery compartment via weatherproofed pigtails.
On the control side, he has a Raspberry Pi 3, an amplifier, and a couple of power supplies all housed in a weatherproof box. Since it’s not possible to multiplex both the lights and the audio on a Pi 3, he added a USB sound card into the mix.
Be sure to check out the awesome demo video after the break, followed by a pumpkin conversion video.
If you’re more into scaring people, carve up an animated evil-eye pumpkin.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Musical Jack-o-Lanterns Harmonize For Halloween”