Pi soft synth enthusiast and developer Phil Atkin shared about a Raspberry Pi Halloween project at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
My favorite part was the update at the end, so I had to quote it here as well. 😉
We met Stuart Pemberton about four weeks ago when we were installing some art at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Stuart is an electrical contractor at Heligan, and as we cut and trimmed wires, discussed onions, went up and down ladders (him, not me) and shot the breeze our common Raspberry Pi interest came up. Unlike me with my 34 long years of coding experience, Stuart is strictly a wires and volts guy, and had not yet written a line of code in any language. But he had stepped up to the plate in a big way and volunteered to get to grips with enough Python to put together a hardware / software project for Heligan Halloween – an interactive exhibit with infra-red sensors, audio playback and owls. And I like a nice owl, so I thought the whole thing was dead cool, and was very interested to hear how it all went on.
And here we are, four weeks later, back at Heligan to deinstall some art, and flipping heck, he’s only gone and done it! Dude!!! In a remarkably serendipitous bit of timing, Stuart had just finished attaching the final wire and run the final tests when we bumped into him at lunch yesterday, so we had to take a look.
There’s a grey box with a Pi, an audio amplifier, a PIR sensor to detect passing warm bodies, and a loudspeaker up a tree. Some Python, an OMXplayer, a recording of a tawny owl hooting, and hey presto, instant Halloween attraction, with passing children enchanted by the hooting owl and wondering a) where it is and b) how come it hoots every time they walk by. Brilliant!
…UPDATE!!! We just heard from Lorna at Heligan that in fact the project was too successful – gardeners and visitors wandering around at dusk were triggering the recording, which was then attracting actual female tawny owls to the tree! Nice if you want to see a female tawny at dusk, but not at all fair – not nice if you’re a girl owl looking for a guy and all you can find is a loudspeaker, and of course it may stop other owl pairs breeding in the area if they think a dominant, hooty male is in residence. So the recording is now of a wolf. A nice, non-British sort of animal. And werewolves are very Halloween. We trust the wolf sound is sufficiently alien that none of the native wildlife is either concerned by, or taken in by the sound!
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