Smiley by Marianna Mezhibovskaya



For my final Making Studio project, I wanted to use the act of smiling as a trigger. I also wanted to incorporate chocolate! Below is the process I went through to create Smiley, the candy machine that invites and shares the reward simultaneously!

I started by downloading an application called Auto Smiley, an +openFrameworks project created by Theo Watson, and recommended to me by my teacher Becky Stern, that uses computer vision recognition to detect smiling. Once a smile is recognized, Auto Smiley sends the infamous 🙂 signal to any text based application you have open on your screen… Be careful not to accidentally click into, and simultaneously butcher, your Arduino code.

After using the app to turn on and off an led light using the push button example found in the Experimenter’s Guide to Arduino, I connected a motor circuit and combined the two codes together.

Next I bought the Candy Wizard, a motion-activated candy dispenser. I hacked it apart and kept only the motor and sensor housing, and the clear candy container.





Then I bought a webcam to make my candy machine a bit more portable.




I drafted and laser cut a box to house the candy machine, arduino, and cables.



Then, with much thanks to Jon Lung’s expert advice and quick prototyping, I built a  a split ramp so that when candy drops, it gets sent to 2 trays on either side of the Smiley machine.







For more pictures and detailed instructions visit the Instructables link below:

Final Project Ideas by Marianna Mezhibovskaya

LightupCircles philips-desso-led-carpet Light up Circular or organic shaped rugs that light up when you step on them. Clear or colored acrylic with LED strips inside , velostat on the bottom for weight sensing, and soft translucent carpet or fabric on top.

Hitstix1-2 AirDrums

Air Drumming Kit. Two wireless drum sticks with internal tilt switches that communicate with a belt that allows you to choose your specific percussive instrument and built in speakers for playing wherever you go. Ideally part of a multiple piece Air Band.


I’m really interested in EKG sensors and would love to create a project that tracks and provokes smiles with a “sweet” incentive!

NightPack by Marianna Mezhibovskaya

I just bought my first road bike this summer and have been super stoked to ride around the city. I am still really hesitant about riding at night though, so my innovative switch is about better visibility at night.

Using a killer Addressable RGB Neopixel strand, conductive velcro, some solder, hot glue,
thread, and the collective brain power of friends Souvik Paul, Jon Lung, and Tak, I made this

NightPackswitchThe switch is simply  two wires hot glued onto two squares of conductive velcro that initiate the Arduino coded lights when pressed together. The velcro is conveniently placed on either end of the front chest straps. One wire runs to ground and the other runs to Digital Input pin 2.


NightPackProcessAfter testing a small strand, I sewed my neopixels into the pieces of fabric loosely matching the shape of my front backpack pockets.



I had lots of issues with the Arduino code but thanks to all of the help I managed to get this bag fairly close to what I wanted. Pretty late in the game I found that the conductive fabric needs to be under substantial pressure for the code to register the switch and loop continuously. Also once the velcro is detached the lights need to finish their current cycle before they turn off. I unfortunately did not have the time, but plan to investigate adding an interrupt into the code.

I would also like to add lights to my helmet and be able to activate both with a simple switch….maybe even some sweet lights on my bike frame!

Le Petit Prince by Marianna Me-zhi-bov-ska-ya

A tribute to The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Chapter 1

“Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. In the book it said: “Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion.”

I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing.

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.

But they answered: “Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?”

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained.”

I remember reading this book as a child and loving the simplicity with which the main character, the pilot, was able to think and then draw his ideas. It’s a book I reread every now and again so when I was given the plush night light assignment I got excited at the prospect of manifesting the pilot’s story and drawings in a 3D way. Here’s what happened…


After creating, cutting, sewing the pattern for my hat, I doubled-up the cloth on both sides of the hat with an elephant silhouette. Then I wired together Warm White LED strips with a momentary switch and a compact Energizer 12v battery in a circuit that matched the perimeter of the elephant!


Here is Tahnee wearing the hat and using the momentary switch to illuminate the elephant within the boa constrictor!

Hatmodeltahnee Tahneelightup

Boa-phant Night Light in Action!


I had a few difficulties wiring up the LED strips. Because I’m new to wiring in general and only just learned how to simply wire up an LED to a battery to a switch, using all of the contacts on the LED strip confused me and I ended up soldering twice as many wires as needed. The circuit worked but I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Another issue I ran into was proper light diffusion. Despite adding some tulle so that you couldn’t see the individual LED’s it wasn’t enough and adding too much more would mean not being able to wear the hat anymore.

Future reiterations will include diffusing the light better so that the individuals diodes aren’t visible and the outline of the elephant is clearer, possibly by creating an outline instead of a silhouette. I would also I would like to add an LED and some stuffing to the location of the switch on the front of the brim to create the head of the boa constrictor.

Homework for Oct 2

Yo Dudes and Dames!

Next weeks assignment is to acquire supplies and materials for your plush night light project and begin working on it. Bring your materials and work-in-progress to class and be prepared to defend your story/concept/design to Allan!

Also post up your sketches and Arduino piezo experiment if you have not already.

-Becky (via Marianna)