Norman, Coordinate

The blinking, bleeping amulet from that Star Trek TOS episode.

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A reproduction of the amulet worn by Norman and other androids from the episode "I Mudd" of the original Star Trek series. A costume accessory for con-goers.

The amulet will blink and go "eep eep eep..." on command of the wearer, like the ones in the original episode, and this is guaranteed to make your science fiction con more enjoyable.

No, seriously. Think about the original episode, and recall what the crew did to defeat the androids. Now imagine wearing one of these at a con... what do you think will happen?

Guaranteed to make your time at the con more enjoyable!

I kept the build simple for quick turn around and so that people could concentrate on other aspects of their costume. For example, you won't need to make a PCB.

You'll need to solder, program an arduino, and have access to a laser cutter.

In the Star Trek (original series) episode "I Mudd", a society of androids, each wearing one of these amulets, kidnaps the ship and its crew.

To defeat the androids, the crew performed a series of over the top acts of silliness, nonsense, and madness. The androids burned themselves out trying to understand the meaning of such actions.

When the androids encountered something they didn't understand, the amulets would blink and beep - indicating that the entire android society was pondering (in unison) what to do.

At a con, many people will get the reference and remember what the crew had to do to to defeat the androids.

If you wear this amulet at a con, you will get many, many people performing wacky and screwball scenes in an attempt to bewilder the "android".

Every time you see one you can stop, activate the amulet, and enjoy the show.

This is also one of the simplest hall costumes you can have at a con.

The amulet will go with just about any costume, including street clothes!

The amulet connects to a battery pack and control switch.

Hide the switch somewhere on your body and you can discretely control the amulet.

For example, you can wear the battery pack on your wrist and mount the switch on the backside of a ring.

When you see something interesting, a quick press starts the amulet beeping, and a quick press stops it.

Press and hold activates continuous mode, for those scenes which are especially confusing.

Here's what you need to build one. You can get the exact chain used in the series episode on eBay by searching for "double textured chain" in the jewelry section.

The LEDs with battery pack is also on eBay - search for "LED string lights".

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Pendant top outline, for laser cutter

AutoCAD DXF - 135.84 kB - 03/06/2017 at 23:13



Pendant wall, for laser cutter

AutoCAD DXF - 260.82 kB - 03/06/2017 at 23:13



Digits for pendant numbers

AutoCAD DXF - 248.67 kB - 03/06/2017 at 23:14



Arduino sketch, source code for the Arduino Nano

x-arduino - 14.98 kB - 03/06/2017 at 23:11



Wiring schematic for the controller

JPEG Image - 40.59 kB - 03/07/2017 at 03:26


View all 6 files

  • 1 × 10"x10" of 1/4" Acrylic sheet, with paper backing Ivory or translucent white, eBay ($4.50) or local sign shop.
  • 1 × Double link textured chain 10mm links, Jewelry section of eBay ($4)
  • 2 × Small 1/2" screw eyes Lowes, Home Depot, or eBay
  • 1 × LED string lights 2 meters, containing 20-ish LEDs (eBay $3)
  • 1 × Small proto board eBay ($1)

View all 12 components

  • The anti-chick magnet

    Peter Walsh03/10/2017 at 19:31 0 comments

    I took the amulet to my local hackerspace (MakeitLabs) for their weekly show-and-tell session "Makeit Interesting" last night.

    ...where it was promptly christened the "anti-chick magnet". :-)

    I'd post images, but it's on Slack, with group membership required.

  • Software complete

    Peter Walsh03/05/2017 at 18:12 0 comments

    Software is done. It's an arduino sketch of 450 lines, of which 150 are executable.

    It is, as they say, well documented :-)

    Quick press starts beeping, quick press stops beeping. Press and hold (1 sec) switches to continuous tone and light as long as the switch is held down.

  • Amulet, initial system test

    Peter Walsh03/04/2017 at 06:11 0 comments

    Amulet is working, all that remains is to work up control button software (including debounce), and assemble the battery pack.

    The original amulet was apparently a thin, vacu-formed clamshell piece with a seam around the sides and a mounting strip on the top. This is fine on camera, which wouldn't show the seam or clamshell, but it would look awful in real life. I decided to go with a hollow lasercut piece instead.

    Also, the amulet of the original series had wires threaded through the chain making contacts with the hooks to the circuit inside the amulet. If you look closely, you can see the wires in the original episode.

    Again, this is fine for on-camera work, but would look like crap in real life, so I decided to run the wires out the back of the amulet instead. The wearer can run the wires through a hole (or gap) in the costume, over one shoulder, and down the arm to the control box.

    The original amulet had a dominant frequency of 1060hz, plus 2 lesser harmonics that gave it kind of "whistle" tone. The reproduction uses only the dominant, and sounds a bit "tinny".

    Doing a proper reproduction would require storing and playing back the original tone, which the nano could easily do, but it requires a bit of electrical prowess (D to A conversion in some manner) that I didn't think was appropriate for a simple project.

    Here's a video of the system in action:

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Prep and cut the amulet

    Step 1: Using your laser cutter software, set the outline to "cut" and the digits to "engrave".

    The engrave should be low power - only enough to go through the paper backing
    Step 2: Cut the amulet blanks, then mask off everything except the digits.
    Step 3: Go over the masked digits with black spray paint, and let dry.

    Use 3 coats!
    Step 4: Peel off the paper backing to reveal a perfect amulet front.
  • 2
    Step 2

    Cut the protoboard blank

    Step 1: Draw the outline of the amulet on the protoboard.
    Step 2: Cut the protoboard outline using a nibbler or bandsaw.
    Step 3: Verify the protoboard fits nicely inside the pendant.
  • 3
    Step 3

    Clamp and glue the amulet

    NOTE: Acrylic solvent, methyl-ethyl-chloride, is a neurotoxin that is absorbed through the skin. Be careful!

    Step 1: Clamp the amulet face and 2 rings together.
    Step 2: Draw a few drops of acrylic solvent into a syringe applicator.
    Step 3: Dribble a little solvent on the seam between to layers of acrylic.
    The solvent will be drawn into the seam by capillary action, and weld the layers together.
    Step 4: Allow welded pieces to dry.
    Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 on the bottom and side seams.
    Final results
    Optional step 6: Sandpaper the edges to blend the seams together to give the amulet a "single piece" look.

View all 10 instructions

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