Ouija Robot

A disembodied arm that spells out messages from the ether (as long as they come through Twitter)

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This project is a motorized mannequin arm and wooden planchette that spells out tweets it receives on a ouija board.

## FAQ (Fully Anticipated Question):

* Why does it have a microcontroller driving the motors instead of using the Raspberry Pi GPIO?

I had an Adafruit Crickit board that I wanted to play with, and the idea for the Ouija Robot is what I came up with.

As I was playing with my original cardboard prototypes, I realized that it's very difficult to actually see what is being spelled out without carefully watching the hand. So I added the Pi with a display for that purpose. Adding a Pi also meant that I could have it read from an Internet source easily instead of having a few pre-programmed messages as I had intended.

This definitely could all run off of the Pi alone but I'd already done the work with the Crickit and I liked the symmetry of circuitry on each side of the arm.

(More details to come shortly!)

  • 1 × Mannequin arm Hollow plastic arm from Amazon used in jewelry store displays
  • 1 × Ouija board Laser cut on wooden plank
  • 1 × Planchette Laser cut
  • 1 × Adafruit Crickit Used for servo/light control
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi with 3.5" TFT display Used to interface with Twitter and display messages

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  • Background and initial prototype

    Ronald McCollam05/07/2019 at 19:26 0 comments

    I'm a huge Adafruit fanboy, so I subscribe to their quarterly Adabox hardware kits.  In one of them (Adabox 008) they included a fun little breakout board called a "Crickit" which makes it easy to control servos, motors, neopixels, even speakers and touch sensors.  Lots of fun things!

    I wanted to come up with a project to play with some of this, and it was close to Halloween.  So naturally, a Halloween decoration would be perfect.  After a few thoughtful hours of sitting on my Thinking Couch and drinking some Thinking Beer, an automated Ouija board seemed like a great project to play with this board.

    So I drew a few doodles and when I had a rough design ready, I started prototyping.  Cardboard and masking tape make fantastic robot prototypes.

    It got way easier to deal with once I realized I could also tape the larger "arm" servo to my desk to see something a bit more like real motion:

    This was enough to see that the basic idea was solid and that I could probably make this work!

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