With the zombies, ghouls, and ghosts now safely returned to their crypts until next October, it’s time to unveil this year’s winners for the 2023 Halloween Hackfest.
For this contest, sponsors DigiKey and Arduino challenged the community to come up with their best creations for what’s arguably the most hacker-friendly of holidays. Pretty much everything was fair game, from costumes to decorations. The top three winners will get $150 credit from DigiKey and some treats from Arduino — just don’t try to eat them.
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The 2023 Halloween Contest might be over, but we saw some great entries and clever modifications bringing projects into the Halloween spirit. One of them is Creepsy by [Hazal Mestci], a Raspberry Pi-based robotic ghost able to autonomously pick people out of a crowd and glide towards them, emitting eerie sounds as it does so.
The tech behind Creepsy (GitHub repository) originally led the somewhat less spooky existence of a mobile drink serving platform. But with a little bit of modification and the addition of a bedsheet with cutouts for sensors, the transformation into an obstacle-avoiding people-seeking spooker was complete. Key to this transformation was the Viam Python SDK, a software Swiss army knife used by robot builders everywhere. Creepsy itself was built using handy aluminum extrusion, and 3D printed parts along with the requisite suite of motors, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2023 Halloween Contest. Got an idea for next year? It’s never too early to get started because ideas are great, but nothing beats “done on time”!
We just love it when y’all build off of each other’s projects. This spooky Halloween noise maker from [C.M. Herron] is no exception. But while the projects we’ve seen lately rely on external computers and/or guitar pedals to create the effects part of the build, this one has everything running on a Raspberry Pi that sits inside the box.
Readers of a certain vintage will recognize this as an 8-track storage box, on top of which are several noise-making objects that creak and ting and reverberate nicely. A USB microphone picks up the sounds, and by using a regular microphone instead of a piezo, [C.M.] can introduce varying levels of feedback to make the sounds even spookier.
So, how did [C.M.] make this work on a Pi 4? To put it simply, they’ve got the Reaper DAW and Windows Valhalla plugins running on top of WINE, which running on top of Box64, which is running on top of the Bullseye Pi OS. [C.M.] sure learned a lot from this build, and hopes to inspire others to build their own spooky noise boxen. Plus, they’ve already thought of ways to improve it for next year. Be sure to check it out in action after the break.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Spooky Noise Maker Is Self-Contained”
Every hacker appreciates how off-the-shelf parts can be combined into something greater, and [bryan.lowder] demonstrates this beautifully with his organ-playing skeleton, a wonderful entry to our 2023 Halloween Contest!
Skelly the 3-foot-tall novelty skeleton animatedly plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor while perched at an old (and non-functional) Hammond organ. The small animatronic skeleton has canned motions that work very well for mock organ playing while an embedded MP3 player takes care of playing the music.
That’s not to say the project didn’t have its challenges. Integrating off-the-shelf components into a project always seems to bring its own little inconveniences. In this case, the skeleton the MP3 player both expect to be triggered with button pushes, but taping the button down wasn’t enough to get the skeleton moving when power was applied. [bryan] ended up using relays to simulate button pushes, and a 555 timer circuit to take care of incorporating a suitable delay.
As [bryan] puts it, “a technical tour de force it ain’t, but it is practical and it works and it was done on time” which is well said. Watch Skelly in action in the video, embedded below. There’s also a second video showing the homebrewed controller and MP3 player, both concealed under Skelly’s robe.
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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”
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?
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