Halloween is one of my favorite holidays here in the US, and so much so that I spent a few years of my life thinking up and building smart Halloween props and animatronics for the haunted attraction industry. I won’t go too deep into the details of the business, but a few friends and myself founded a company a few years back with the “help” of some investors. It was my first tech startup, and like many tech companies, we had the hardware and software to revolutionize a decades stagnant industry that quite honestly did not want to change. To make a long story short, none of the original founders are part of that business anymore, with myself backing out in late 2015.
One of my duties in the company was to brainstorm and prototype new and innovative props that utilized modern technology, while remaining easy enough to use for the aging haunted house owners to be able to program. Often this was accomplished by making props that just worked once powered up, other times this involved utilizing our custom Raspberry Pi based animatronic / whole scene controller unit on the finished prop. However, during the prototyping phase, I would always develop the project using a bare Raspberry Pi or Arduino, and I loved this part about the business the most. The thrill of coming up with a concept, and then building and presenting a working prototype during our weekly all-hands meeting was exhilarating. This is why I love creating Halloween projects every year here at Element14. It gives me the perfect excuse to build some of those concepts that I never got around to prototyping when I was co-owner of the company.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.