Halloween is basically built for the hacker. Besides the obvious fabrication of absurd costumes, there’s also the chance to showcase your skills, be they mechanical, audio, or video. It’s also a great time to show off our coolest tricks to inspire the young proto-hackers. If you need inspiration, we’ve got 150 ideas.
My personal problem with Halloween, though, is that I always start at the last minute, and my ideas far outreach my time budget. Or because it’s all done in the last minute, a whole bunch of ideas that should “just work” in theory run into the immovable object that is practice. At least that’s what happened with last year’s spooky sound effects — my son and I spent so much time collecting and recording scary audio samples that I ran out of time while still getting the sensitivity on the motion detector set just right, and then the battery died halfway through the night.
But this year will be different, I swear! I’m going to get it done early and test it out, with the luxury of time to debug the inevitable spiders. And you can swear too. Get started now on your Halloween project. Or at least next weekend.
What’s your favorite Halloween Hack?
If you need any more encouragement to fire up your black and orange hacking machine, think of Hackaday.io’s Halloween Hackfest. It runs until Oct 28, and all you have to do to enter is document your Halloween project on IO and press the “Submit” button. The deadline is the 28th, which still gives you a couple of nights to debug whatever didn’t work before the real deal. Prizes are shopping sprees at Digi-Key, and Adafruit is doubling the gift certificate if you use any Adafruit parts in the build.
If you don’t give a pumpkin about stupid ol’ Halloween, that’s cool too. (Grinch!) The 2021 Hackaday Prize has entered the final wildcard round. If your project didn’t fit in any of the previous categories, I’m pretty sure it’ll fit just fine in the anything-goes phase. Go nuts. We’d love to see what you’re working on.
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This mirror will spook your guests with a variety of static and animated images. It includes a proximity sensor so the images will not appear until someone comes close enough to see themselves in the looking glass.
The electronic parts are quite easy to put together. There is a 32×32 RGB LED matrix mounted on the back of the mirror. It is driven by an IOIO board with some custom firmware written by [Ytai], the creator of that board who happens to live next door to [Alinke]. Where this starts to get interesting is when [Alinke] was working on the mirror to make the LEDs visible from the front. He used a razor knife to put hundreds of scratches in the varnish on the back. This lets just enough light through to see the LEDs, but keeps the mirrored surface reflective. See for yourself in the clip after the break.
The images are fed to the IOIO board by an Android device. We think this could have a lot of use after Halloween as a weather display or news ticker. Perhaps you could even feed it from your diy Android thermostat.
Each eye is made up of a ping-pong ball and an LED. But that alone won’t be very spook as the entire ball will glow rather brightly. So he spiced things up a bit by masking off the shape of a pupil and spraying the balls black. The vertical slit seen in white above will glow red like a demon in the night.
The LEDs are driven by an ATtiny85 running the Arduino bootloader. [Vato] found there was plenty of space two write code which fades the eyes in and out using PWM. This happens at random intervals for each of the four pairs he is driving.
We’ve seen a similar project that used oversized LEDs as the eyes. But we really like the idea of using a diffuser like this one. See it in action after the break.