This all started this past week. First, we found the trash pails
in our kitchen talking with eachother...
Sneaky little guys.
Then, we noticed one of them on a lookout...
Apparently, the other two were ransacking the kitchen...
The next day, we found that they were having a meeting...
So, Ken at work came up with the idea of putting the eyes on the trash pails, but after talking that day, I decided to bring it life.
On the way home, I picked up the Rubbermaid Flip-top trash bin at Home Depot. I dug out some bits I had bought for a Haloween costume that never happened. Servo, linkages, stuff like that. I also dug out my trusty Arduino board, and within a couple of hours, I had a Trash Droid that could talk.
The servo linkage:
Essentially, I drilled small holes in the plastic and secured everything directly with small nylon wire ties. The ball linkages were the hardest thing to work with, which is to say that nothing was really very hard to construct. I had drilled a few tiny holes along the back edge of the flip top, since I was unsure where I should connect the servo to provide the best motion.
All of these link to pictures in the gallery for this project. Click for larger images.
The original Arduino software for him is just a simple state machine. It starts in the "Close the mouth" state. This state lasts for 2 seconds. It moves the servo to the "mouth is closed" position. Next, it goes into a "Waiting" state. It stays here for 45 seconds, blinking the on-board LED to let you know that it's still running. Next, it goes into the "Chatter" state. For 6 seconds, it sends random position data to the servo, which causes the mouth to open and chatter a bit. It then loops back to the "Close the mouth" state and it repeats.
The Arduino software is downloadable from the list above.
I'm considering adding servo-controlled shifty eyes, or perhaps some way to have him rotate his head. Not really sure. I'm happy with him as he is right now.