Halloween may have come and gone for another year, but we’re still finding neat spooky projects lurking out on the Interwebs. Case in point, the Ghost Detector 9000 from [Jules].
Effectively, what you’re looking at here is a fun interactive ghost-detecting game. It consists of a Raspberry Pi Zero hooked up with an IMU sensor that can detect the rig’s movement and orientation. As the user moves the Ghost Detector 9000 around, it outputs lights and sound when it’s aimed at a so-called “ghost-signal”. The user then pulls the trigger to “capture” the ghost. The whole rig is built inside a flashlight which presented a useful form factor for modification.
For those eager to dive into the nitty-gritty, [Jules] has shared the project files on GitHub. There’s some nifty stuff going on, like Rust code that interfaces with I2C devices hooked up to the Pi, and a sensor-fusion algorithm to make the most out of the data from the 9-axis IMU.
It’s a fun build that probably taught [Jules] a great deal along the way, even if it’s a game at heart. If you prefer to shoot zombies instead of capture ghosts, we’ve seen a build that lets you go hunting with a laser crossbow, too.
Continue reading “The Ghost Detector 9000 Is A Fun Spirit-Chasing Game”
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”
When you help your bumbling Uncle Gadget with all kinds of missions, you definitely need a watch that can do it all. Penny’s video watch from Inspector Gadget has a ton of features including video communication with Brain and Chief Quimby, a laser, a magnet, a flashlight, a sonar signal, and much more.
To round out her Penny costume, [Becky Stern] has created a 3D printed version of Penny’s incredibly smart watch. It listens for Penny’s iconic phrase — come in, Brain! — and then loads a new picture of Brain on the rounded rectangle TFT display. Inside the watch is an Arduino Nicla Voice, which has to be one of the tinier machine learning-capable boards out there.
[Becky] created the watch case in Tinkercad and modified a watch band from Printables to fit her wrist. With such a small enclosure to work with, [Becky] ended up using that really flexible 30 AWG silicone-jacketed wire for all the fiddly connections between the Arduino and the screen.
After getting it all wired up to test, she found that the screen was broken, either from pressing it into the enclosure, or having a too-close encounter with a helping hands. Let that be a lesson to you, and check out the build video after the break.
More interested in Uncle Gadget’s goodies? Check out these go-go-Gadget shoes and this propeller backpack for skiers.
Continue reading “Building Penny’s Computer Watch From Inspector Gadget“
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.
Continue reading “2023 Halloween Hackfest: Organ-playing Skeleton Livens Up Halloween”
[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”
Getting the finishing details on a Halloween costume completed is the key to impressing friends and strangers alike on the trick-or-treat rounds. Especially when it comes to things like props, these details can push a good Halloween costume to great with the right touches. [Jonathan]’s friend’s daughter will be well ahead of the game thanks to these additions to a toy guitar which is part of her costume this year.
The toy guitar as it was when it arrived had the capability to play a few lackluster sound effects. The goal here was to get it to play a much more impressive set of songs instead, and to make a couple upgrades along the way as well. To that end, [Jonathan] started by dismantling the toy and investigating the PCBs for potential reuse. He decided to keep the buttons in the neck of the guitar despite their non-standard wiring configuration, but toss out the main board in favor of an ESP32. The ESP32 is tasked with reading the buttons, playing a corresponding song loaded on an SD card, and handling the digital to analog conversion when sending it out to be played on the speaker.
The project doesn’t stop there, though. [Jonathan] also did some custom mixing for the songs to account for the lack of stereo sound and a working volume knob, plus he used the ESP32’s wireless capabilities to set the guitar up as a local file server so that songs can be sent to and from the device without any wires. He also released the source code on the project’s GitHub page for anyone looking to use any parts of this project. Don’t forget there’s a Halloween contest going on right now, so be sure to submit the final version of projects like these there!
Continue reading “Upgraded Toy Guitar Plays Music”