Stationary pumpkins and motionless skeletons aren’t enough to scare people these days. If you want to really create a fright on Halloween, you need something more convincing. This bike-riding skeleton from [rc jedi] might just do the trick.
A few neat tricks make this impressive build surprisingly simple in nature. Propulsion is via a scrapped electric scooter drivetrain hidden in the sidecar. This not only propels the rig, but the third wheel means there’s no need to do any fancy balancing work to keep the bike upright. Steering is via a big chunky servo mounted to the bike frame which controls the handlebars. Regular RC gear handles remote control of the steering and drive.
The skeleton itself was an off-the-shelf buy, that was modified to have more flexibility in its joints. The hands were attached to the handlebars, and the feet attached to the pedals, so it appears to pedal the bicycle as it moves down the road. A dog skeleton rides along in the sidecar as a spooky companion.
A skeleton prowling the streets by BMX is a wonderfully spooky sight. We’ve seen some other great skeleton builds before, too, from the canine to the musical variety. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Bike-Riding Skeleton Stalks The Streets On Halloween”
It’s the spookiest time of year once again, and hackers across the globe are cobbling together some spine-chilling projects. [Kevin] is amongst them, and has created a spooky, scary skeleton just in time for Halloween.
The project works in a relatively simple fashion: essentially, a Raspberry Pi Pico is charged with reading an HC-SR04 ultrasonic rangefinder. It’s all wrapped up in a 3D-printed skull-like housing. When the skeleton detects someone or something close in front, the Pi triggers a small servo hooked up to a 3D-printed gear. This interfaces with a pair of racks which drive the skull’s eyebrows up and down, and opens and shuts its jaw.
Of course, there are some major anatomical problems here. Skulls don’t have eyebrows; that’s just not possible. Eyebrows are hair attached to flesh and muscle; they simply don’t exist in the world of bone. However, it’s fair to say [Kevin]’s taking creative license for the sake of the holiday, and we can all support that.
This is a basic build, and a fun one. It would be an excellent way to learn some basic microcontroller skills, while also serving as a great little Halloween charm to scare guests going back to the fridge for another beverage.
We get a cavalcade of quality holiday hacks every year around this time. This year should be no exception – so get your spooktacular hacks into the tips line, post-haste! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Spooky, Scary Skeleton Is Pi Pico Powered”
If you’ve ever seen a painting in which the eyes follow you around the room, you might have found that a bit uneasy. [CuriousInventor] has taken that concept further with a skeleton that literally holds a gaze on anyone in its field of view.
The heart of the system is a Raspberry Pi Zero, fitted with a Pi Camera. Running OpenCV, code is set up to track humans and turn the skeleton’s head to face any that are detected. This is achieved via a servo in the skeleton’s neck. A servo bonnet is used to drive the servos without unnecessarily straining the Raspberry Pi.
The skeleton itself doesn’t look modified in any way, though most of the electronics are mounted inside a pretty obvious plastic box. We’d love to see a version 2 with all the hardware housed neatly inside the skull.
It’s a fun hack that makes for an enjoyable Halloween decoration. OpenCV can do other useful things, too, however, like spotting weeds. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Skeleton Watches You Intensely Because It’s Halloween, Okay”
The House of Mouse has been at the forefront of entertainment technology from its very beginnings in an old orange grove in Anaheim. Disney Imagineers invented the first modern animatronics in the 1960s and they’ve been improving the technology ever since, often to the point of being creepy.
But the complicated guts of an animatronic are sometimes too much for smaller characters, so in the spirit of “cheaper, faster, better”, Disney has developed some interesting techniques for animated characters made from wire. Anyone who has ever played with a [Gumby] or other posable wireframe toys knows that eventually, the wire will break, and even before then will plastically deform so it can’t return to its native state.
Wires used as the skeletons of animated figures can avoid that fate if they are preloaded with special shapes, or “templates,” that redirect the forces of bending. The Disney team came up with a computational model to predict which template shapes could be added to each wire to make it bend to fit the animation needs without deforming. A commercially available CNC wire bender installs the templates that lie in the plane of the wire, while coiled templates are added later with a spring-bending jig.
The results are impressive — the wire skeleton of an animated finger can bend completely back on itself with no deformation, and the legs of an animated ladybug can trace complicated paths and propel the beast with only servos pulling cables on the jointless legs. The video below shows the method and the animated figures; we can imagine that figures animated using this technique will start popping up at Disney properties eventually.
From keeping guests safe from robotic harm to free-flying robotic aerialists, it seems like the Disney Imagineers have a hardware hacker’s paradise at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Continue reading “Kinetic Wire Animatronics Bend It Like Disney”
There are a lot of things to like about [BoneConstructor]’s Skelly the skeleton robot project. Note that we said, “project”. That’s because not only does the robot work well and is built well, but the journey he took to make it contains steps we’ve all taken ourselves. We can say that with confidence since it’s his first, and we’ve all had those.
Skelly started life as a skeleton sitting in [BoneConstructor]’s antique race car at local car shows. Its eyes lit up and it made a moaning sound, which didn’t always work right. From there came lessons learned with head and arm servos, followed by problems with a PS2 remote and a control board. When he realized he’d have to write his own code, he was stymied by his lack of programming skills. But then he found Visuino, which as you can guess from the name is a visual way to program Arduinos, mostly consisting of drag-and-drop. From there on, the path was smoother, if not completely linear.
Rather than rapidly burn through servos by mounting the bones directly to the servo arms, he fitted bearings into the bone sockets, put the limbs on shafts through those bearings, and used pusher rods connected to the servo arms to turn those shafts. It’s no wonder the arms work so well. He took that sturdy and resilient approach with the wrists and neck too. He even made its right foot able to tap in tune with the music.
And from there we begin to understand some of the method to his madness. Check out the videos below, and on his Hackaday.io page and you’ll see how wonderfully Skelly moves to the music. It even took a moment for us to realize he wasn’t actually playing the piano. But best of all, we like how he rocks out to AC/DC’s Shoot To Thrill (Iron Man 2 Version). We’re really impressed by how well those robot arms hold up given that this is a first robot.
Continue reading “Skelly The Skeleton Is A Scary Good Musician”
[Divconstructors] cashed in after Halloween and picked up a skeleton dog prop from the Home Depot, for the simple and logical purpose of turning it into a robot.
The first step was to cut apart the various body parts, followed by adding bearings to the joints and bolting in a metal chassis fabricated from 1/8″ aluminum stock. This is all pretty standard stuff in the Dr. Frankenstein biz. For electronics he uses a Mega with a bark-emitting MP3 shield on top of it. Separately, a servo control board manages the dozenish servos — not to mention the tail-wagging stepper.
[Divconstructors] actually bought two skeletons, one to be his protoype and the other to be the nice-looking build. However, we at Hackaday feel like he might have missed an opportunity: As any necromancer can tell you, a freakish combination of two skeletons beats out two normal skeletons any night of the week. Also, two words for you to consider: cyberdog ransomeware. We imagine you don’t really feel ransomware until there’s the family robodog ready to test out its high-torque jaw servos on your flesh. Of course if he were a real dog we could either remotely control him with a hot dog, or just give him a talking collar.
Here’s a quick question: are Geiger and Giger (as in H.R. Giger, designer of the Alien Xenomorph) pronounced the same? The answer is no. Nevertheless, the late artist has had his name mispronounced (for the record, it’s ghee-gur) by many over the years. [Steve DeGroof’s] friend posted a goofy tweet that gave him the inspiration to finally put a skeletal lid on the matter, the Giger Counter.
The innards are a Mightyohm Geiger Counter Kit. The external casing is where the true hack lies in this project, made from a 1:2 scale plastic skeleton model, flexible conduit, and dark metallic spray paint. Only the ribcage, some vertebrae, and part of the skull are used from the model. They are assembled in a delightfully inhuman fashion with some conduit wrapped around it and into the bottom of the ribcage for good measure. After some gluing and spray painting, the LED from the Geiger Counter kit is placed through a drilled hole in the skull while the board sits inside the ribcage. Getting the board in and out can be a little tricky, but it looks like the batteries can be changed without having to pull the whole board out.
Check out the video below to see the Giger Counter. If you want another hack inspired by H.R. Giger’s artistic vision, take a look at this Xenomorph suit we covered. Or, if you can’t get enough Geiger counters, we’ve featured plenty of cool ones on this site.
Continue reading ““Giger Counter” Makes Radiation Detection Surreal”