Pi-Controlled Billy From The Saw Horror Flicks

[David0429] has made a very scary Raspberry Pi controlled puppet. Scary that is if you’ve seen the Saw movies where a serial killer uses one like it, called Billy, to communicate with his victims. If you haven’t, then it’s a pretty neat remote-controlled puppet-on-a-tricycle hack.

A stepper motor hidden under the front fender moves the trike by rotating the front wheel. It does this using a small 3D printed wheel that’s attached to the motor’s shaft and that presses against the trike’s wheel. Steering is done using a 3D printed gear mounted above the fender and attached to the steering column. That gear is turned by a servo motor through another gear. And another servo motor in the puppet’s head moves its mouth up and down.

All these servos and motors are wired to an Adafruit stepper motor HAT stacked on a Raspberry Pi hidden under the seat. Remote control is done from a webpage in any browser. The Flask python web framework runs on the Pi to both serve up the webpage and communicate with it in order to receive commands.

[David0429] took great care to make the puppet and tricycle look like the one in the movie. Besides cutting away excess parts of the trike and painting it, he also ran all the wires inside the tubular frame, drilling and grinding out holes where needed.  The puppet’s skeleton is made of wood, zip ties and hinges but with the clothes on, it’s pretty convincing. Interestingly, the puppet in the first movie was constructed with less sophistication, having been made out of paper towel rolls and papier-mâché. The only things [david0429] would like to do for next time are to quieten the motors for maximum creepiness, and to make it drive faster. However, the need for a drive system that could be hidden under the fender resulted one that could only work going slowly. We’re thinking maybe driving it using the rear wheels may make it possible provide both speed and stealth. Ideas anyone?

In any case, as you can see in the video below, the result is suitably creepy.

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Tiny Open Source Robot

We watched the video introduction for this little open source robot, and while we’re not 100% sure we want tiny glowing eyes watching us while we sleep, it does seem to be a nice little platform for hacking. The robot is a side project of [Matthew], who’s studying for a degree in Information Science.

The robot has little actuated grippy arms for holding a cell phone in the front. When it’t not holding a cellphone it can use its two little ultrasonic senors to run around without bumping into things. We like the passive balancing used on the robot. Rather than having a complicated self-balancing set-up, the robot just uses little ball casters to provide the other righting points of contact.

The head of the robot has plenty of space for whatever flavor of Arduino you prefer. A few hours of 3D printing and some vitamins is all you need to have a little robot shadow lurking in your room. Video after the break.

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25 Scariest Experiments

Warning: This video contains actual footage of a severed dog head, kept alive. Watch at your own peril.

[Annalee] over at io9.com has gathered together the 25 scariest science experiments.  There are some truly frightening pieces, like the cyborg beetles which we’ve seen before, all the way to silly stuff like the guy who re grew his thumb using pig powder. Next time you’re thinking of admonishing someone for creating a flamethrower, or a super fast scooter, consider for a moment that they’re not burning peoples nasal passages to stop masturbation or creating zombie severed dog heads like the one in the video above.

Halloween Props: DMX Controlled Skeleton

[scarylady] has posted this video about her setup. The skeleton was rigged up to a rotating base with a single pneumatic solenoid to jostle it. She then goes on to show how she has it all connected to her computer with an explanation of the software setup. Though some of us might feel she could have accomplished very similar results with a simple oscillating fan, this is a decent intro to DMX.

We also had several people submit this fantastic list of Halloween projects, The Halloween monster list. There is enough information there to keep you busy for quite a while. We were going to list our favorites, but there are so many fantastic ones, we think you should just go look at them all. Remember to send us more of your projects.

Halloween Prop: The Ground-breaker

[casafear1] has put out this video detailing how to build the “ground-breaker”, a zombie escaping from the grave. It is a simple frame for the arms and shoulders, with a couple pneumatic pistons to make it jerk as though it were pulling itself from the grave. He goes into a decent amount of detail explaining the physical construction, offering several tips to prolong the life of this prop. Unfortunately, he doesn’t enlighten us as to his control scheme. Is it manually controlled? Is it automated? Does it get activated by passers by or is it always going?

Last year, we posted most of the Halloween projects after Halloween. This year we would like to try to get you those ideas and inspiration far enough ahead of time to help you put them to use. Send us your favorite Halloween projects so we can get them published.

[via Makezine]