Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Automatic Camera Shutter Switch



There are a lot of times when you want to photograph something but you can’t be there with the camera. If you want to take aerial photographs with a pole or a kite, you need a way to control the camera without being up in the air yourself. In this project I demonstrate a variety of ways that you can remotely or automatically control a camera.

If your camera has a shutter switch terminal, then you can directly control the focus and shutter with an external circuit such as a microcontroller. If your camera doesn’t have a shutter switch terminal, then you can either add connections to the shutter button or you can use a servo to press the button for you.

There are a lot of possible applications for an automatically controlled camera. You can make time lapse videos. You can set it up as part of a security system. You can set it up in a haunted house to get pictures of people getting scared by your automated special effects. Use your imagination.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Automate a Haunted House with a Motion Sensor



When working with special effects, the most important part is timing. So for this Halloween, I am doing a series of projects that use simple DIY sensors to help you automate your Halloween setup. So far we have covered pressure plates and proximity sensors. This week, I am going to show you how to use motion sensors to activate your special effects.

There are a lot of small motion sensor modules that will connect directly to your microcontroller. These output a HIGH signal whenever they detect motion. You can read this with a digitalRead function and then have your microcontroller activate any number of special effects. You can either use a commercial shield or make your own.

If you want to activate AC devices you can also modify a motion sensor that is already designed to work with AC. In this project, I took motion-activated security light and I turned it into a motion-activated AC outlet.

There are a lot of ways that you can use a motion sensor to help you automate your Halloween setup. Then after Halloween, you can use it to automate your house.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Automate a Haunted House with a DIY Proximity Sensor



When working with automated special effects, the most important part is making sure that they are well timed. For live events such as a haunted house, the best way to get the timing right is to use sensors to detect where your guests are and when they reach various locations. So for this Halloween, I am doing a series of projects that demonstrate different sensors that can be used to automate a haunted house.

Last week I showed how to use a pressure plate switch to activate special effects. This week, I am going to show you how to make a simple proximity sensor. This is basically just an infrared LED and a phototransistor. When a person stands near the sensor, some of the light from the LED is reflected back to the detector. The output signal of the detector can be monitored by an Arduino and used to activate special effects when the person is close enough.

Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Use-a-DIY-Proximity-Sensor-to-Automate-Your-Haunte/

Monday, October 7, 2013

How to Automate a Haunted House with a DIY Pressure Plate Switch



One of the best parts of a haunted house is the automated special effects. To make sure that the effects are well timed, you need sensors to detect where your guests are in the haunted house. Over the next few weeks I am going to show you a variety of simple sensors that you can use to automate your Halloween setup.

This week I am going to show you how to make a simple DIY pressure plate switch. This is just a pressure sensitive switch that is activated when someone steps on it. A sensor like this is really useful for effects that require someone to be in a specific location.  I also give several examples of ways that you can use it to activate special effects in a haunted house.

Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Use-a-DIY-Pressure-Plate-Switch-to-Automate-Your-H/

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Pepper's Ghost Illusion



Pepper’s Ghost is a special effects technique for creating transparent ghostly images. This technique has been a staple of theaters and haunted houses since John Pepper popularized it in the 1800′s. It works by reflecting an image of the ghost off of a sheet of plexiglass. The plexiglass is set at a 45 degree angle in front of the audience. At this angle the background remains clearly visible, but it also reflects a partial image of the ghost that is located off to one side.

This special effect is especially impressive because it can be performed live and it does require any computers or special equipment. All you need to incorporate this effect into your Halloween setup is a large sheet of plexiglass. I’ll this video I’ll show show you how to make your own.

Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Peppers-Ghost-Illusion/