Issue 23 – HackSpace magazine – the cover story is about spooky electronic Halloween projects you can make with electronics. Many of the projects feature Adafruit parts that have spooky uses!
The introduction features the Adafruit Snake Eyes Bonnet for Raspberry Pi. Make realistic moving eyes for your project!
Adding light to your creations
Erin St. Blaine is a fashion and LED artist and has combined the two to create glowing mirror masks (hsmag.cc/wWAOsh). The tutorial covers two designs, but Erin says the technique can be used on masks of any shape and size. The main electronics behind the mask are the Adafruit HalloWing and NeoPixel LED strips.
Noe Ruiz has a mask that’s a bit more sinister. His sci-fi inspired 3D-printed gas mask (hsmag.cc/YLpHdz) will surely turn heads on Halloween. The project has three main components: a mask, a respirator, and the goggles. As you would have guessed, the respirator glows thanks to a couple of NeoPixel LED rings that are wired to a Gemma microcontroller.
If you’re looking to add some thrills to your Halloween costume, Dano Wall, the Deputy Director of Manufacturing at Adafruit has just the thing. He’s taken a standard foam reindeer mask and turned it spooky with animated eyes and a glowing nose
The Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board is a wonderful device to give a voice to your wearables. Prolific maker John Edgar Park has taken apart a talking Chewbacca Mask to increase its audio repertoire (hsmag.cc/JSmgNe). The crux of his build involves replacing the mask’s original sound-board that had limited audio capabilities with an Audio FX Sound Board that can playback your favourite sounds.
The intrepid Becky Stern uses the Audio FX Sound Board to build a talking dog collar (hsmag.cc/gYoMwj). Her project uses the Bluetooth-enabled Bluefruit LE microcontroller to play sounds through a mono amp connected to a mini metal speaker embedded in her dog’s collar. The build is inspired by the talking golden retriever named Dug from the movie Up, who vocalises his thoughts via a special collar.
Talking of furry creatures, what’s Halloween without monsters? Adafruit’s Creative Engineer, Phillip Burgess brings together two of his favourite things, electronics and Halloween, to bring a demon to life (hsmag.cc/WSeiRW). The main aspect of the costume is the monster mask, which combines a couple of Phillip’s earlier tutorials.
He starts by first using the Adafruit Wave Shield to create a voice changer (hsmag.cc/BcigOE). He mounts it inside a mask from a craft store.
The monster’s animated eyes (hsmag.cc/mcPeaC) are another significant aspect of the project. Instead of directly attaching the
matrix backpacks to the mask, he mounts them on a flat acrylic plate that’s attached to the mask via elastic bands.
Erin St. Blaine has taken a leaf out of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to create a ‘real’ eye of newt (hsmag.cc/0YaIQG). The project runs off the Teensy microcontroller, which controls the OLED display breakout board.
Adafruit leads the category with lots of electronic eye hardware that is ready made for your projects.
Powerful microcontrollers and coding tricks necessary to make blinky skull eyes work came together thanks to Phil Burgess (known to the Twitterverse as PaintYourDragon), Creative Engineer at Adafruit, and the Teensy 3.1/3.2 microcontrollers. You can still find the guide for doing this (from 2015) here: hsmag.cc/HjGMUs.
While this works, there are easier ways of achieving this effect these days. You can get the effect out the box and ready to include in your Halloween build using a HalloWing from $34.95 (for a single eye) or MONSTER M4SK $44.95 (for two eyes). The effect can be powered by Arm Cortex- M0+ cores, (running 128×128 pixel displays) or more powerful M4 cores (running 240×240 pixel displays). It’s the quality of image that’s different between the two display resolutions, not the physical size.
Adafruit has a few options under the name Audio FX. They have different options in terms of amount of memory, method for connecting to speakers, and types of audio supported, so take a look through and see which one fits your needs from the diminutive Audio FX Mini Sound Board – WAV/OGG Trigger – 2MB Flash for $19.95 that will need an additional amplifier to connect to speakers. Other options include audio-out jacks, the ability to play MP3 files, and more memory.
You don’t have to use hardware designed for sound effects. Many general-purpose microcontrollers include the hardware necessary for playing sounds, including the Circuit Playground Express (CPX). There are details of how to do this here: hsmag.cc/ZkJzbC. There’s a small built-in speaker on the CPX, but you can also attach an external speaker with a bit of wiring.