Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a speaker box hack – hiding a foam disc gun with a speaker inside, linked to a Wifi connected Huzzah arduino board. The board is triggered through the IFTTT service using a Twitter applet sending data when the hashtag #headsupPOD is tweeted. When data is sent to the board, the servo motor is triggered to pull the gun trigger to fire the foam discs. After just the right delay, the audio board is triggered to activate an audio file shouting “Heads up!”.

If you’d like to build your own and learn more about the making process, below is a link to an Instructables post.

Heads Up!

And here is the product in action!

Heads Up! from Andrew Schlesinger on Vimeo.

Heads up!

For my final project, I’d like to make a hidden Nerf/disc gun in an enclosure that looks like a speaker box. The speaker box would be able to shoot the disc and send audio, particularly to shout “Heads up”.

I have a few ideas of how/when to activate the gun and sound:

  1. Random!
    1. Shoots, then says heads up
    2. Heads up, then shoot (normal case)
    3. Shouts heads up, but nothing shoots.
  2. Productivity tool – monitors computer usage
    1. Spend too much time on Facebook, get shot
    2. Ignore emails, get shot
  3. Messaging – incorporated into Slack/Messenger
    1. 2 people can shoot each other
  4. Serious version… Shoots every time there is a gun death in the US
    1. Uses an IFTT to a website counter for gun deaths
  5. Nearby activated
    1. Add in sensor to shoot when nearby


Depending on the activation method, the internal sensors will change. However, first step will be to create mechanics to shoot discs. I am planning to take apart a toy gun like below to utilize the mechanics and set it up into the enclosure and activate from arduino. Most likely a servo motor to activate a trigger/spring.



I will also need wave shield to generate audio inside the enclosure.

Fidget to Read

Fidget to Read from Andrew Schlesinger on Vimeo.

The NeoPixel LED strip is controlled by input from a vibration sensor (https://www.adafruit.com/product/2384) to read if there is motion in the hand. To keep the LEDs on, there must be consistent “fidgeting” with the sensor. As “fidgeting” slows or stops all together, the lights will dim out and then turn off, until fidgeting picks up again.

The final intent is for the vibration sensor to be embedded in a pen size enclosure to enable simple fidgeting similar to what is done already when holding a pen to keep the LEDs running. Unfortunately, the vibration sensor readings became erratic after soldering therefore further investigation is needed before completing the final handheld product. At the moment, the sensor is read off the breadboard for consistency.



Meet Ms. Nettle

dsc_0198Ms. Nettle is a sea nettle jellyfish. Her natural habitat is in the Chesapeake Bay off the East coast of the US, but she can occasionally be found floating around SVA.


Ms. Nettle likes to zip around fast. Using her tentacles to guide her around.


She also doesn’t mind floating in place to give her tentacles a breather.


Ms. Nettle is extremely friendly (and fluffy), but she is quite the jokester.  She enjoys playing pranks on sleepy students… So watch out! Or you might get a tentacle to the cheek.



My Fluffy Pink Jellyfish

First step was sewing a dome out of cotton t-shirt material for the top + felt for the base. And after ensuring that it could be stuffed properly without breaking seams, it was time to fill in LEDs to make the jellyfish glow.

Below is the light board layout I decided to illuminate through the bottom.


Confirming that the soldering is correct and the solder connections do not break when putting into the body.


Finished soldering everything!


Adding the LED and stuffing around the light board. I noticed that there is no light coming through the top, just the bottom. So I decided to add additional light above the light board. Using same strip white LEDs, I added it into the stuffing loosely.


Below is after adding the light above the board to create glow through the bottom and top at same time.


And finally, adding on some tentacles.


Looking forward to the final project, I few modifications I’d like to make:

  • Make tentacles have some glow
  • Use RGB light source to control and fluctuate color
  • Investigate adding a fan to make tentacles move while floating
  • Investigate alternate top material (currently t-shirt cotton) – evaluate all felt body.



My name is Sadness. My nose is an odd shape. I live alone, under a tree. Although my nose looks weird, I can eat lots of ants. But ants are cool so I feel bad. And now I’m more sad.

Ok – goodbye!