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!

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.

Jump Rope

I always loved to jump rope. Jump rope can be played with one or more people and it is a fun and good exercise for kinds in urban setting. In Japan, jump rope is very big among kids.  They take this simple exercise very seriously(as you can see below).  Growing up I learned a lot of fun jump rope skills.

Here’s my movie. I had so much fun making this movie.



Jump Rope Inspiration

I decided to go back to my original concept of making LED Jump Rope after trying few things. I looked at existing LED Jump Ropes and thought that I can make something with less colors that are beautiful to look without too much distraction. Here are couples of examples I looked at. The first photo is a typical LED jump rope for children. The 2nd photo is a jump rope with LED handles. The 3rd one is jump rope in action.



jump rope

Arm Warmer + Emergency Light

My original plan was to create arm warmers that I can use for night running on trail.  When hurricane Sandy hit, I didn’t have any flashlights and I was out of batteries for my headlamps (which I use for trail running).  That lead me thinking about using this piece as emergency lights when power goes out in emergency situations(if batteries work).  You can use this wearable piece for going up stairs or in restrooms and they keep you warm. Here are some of the process photos.  I made my first prototype too small for my arms, so I revised the pattern.

Added erratic trims for better adjustment.

Hand saw lights around the perimeter.

Emergency lights in a restroom.

Arm warmers that keeps you warm in winter whether you are running or indoor.