Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Challenges

So, here we are. We have decided to activate Halloween prop (or any physical thing) from a phone. Here is what we are facing:

  • 4 props acting independently
  • 2 sound effects (sound attached to props)
  • Music playing separate from sound effects
  • Lighting effects (lights attached to props)
  • House lighting

Not too bad right? This is essentially our setup every year.

Enter automation:

We have to find a way to control the props automatically. In the past we have physically pushed air to make the props go up and down. This year we will have to find a way to do this mechanically.

We then have to find a way to communicate which props we want. Since we want to do this through a phone we have to use Internet Protocol (IP). This means we have to code a program to listen for commands over the internet and activate the props we want. We also have to create an 'App' to send those commands and be dynamic enough to handle changes in IP addresses, Prop name, execution times, ect.

We then have to find a way/create a way to connect all the peripherals to each prop (ie if a ghost pops out it should say "BOO!!!" with lights on it.)

Its not landing a rover on Mars, but it is still a lot for two full-time workers with limited development experience. More detail on the above as they become worked on/complete/abandoned.

Should be a good time!

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