Propeller Powered Movie & Live Show Prop

JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,853
edited November 1 in Propeller 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
This gorgeous prop -- which is powered by the Propeller, of course -- was built by my friend, Matt Hawkins (www.likeform.com) for Midnight Syndicate (www.midnightsyndicate.com). It uses an EFX-TEK HC-8+ as the controller with a SEETRON 4x20 OLED dsiplay (on front), NeoPixel strips for the tower, and a bunch of my drivers that Matt knitted together. There are a variety of switches an pots on the front that change the behavior. The production wanted the device to look "home built" and Matt did an excellent job of that, going so far as to use old-school Dymo labels for the switch and pot markings.

After the film was shot we added a remote control for the live show. The remote is an XBee radio, batteries, a pot, and a button. The Propeller uses the internal XBee to do a Remote AT command to read the pot and button from the remote XBee -- works really well and kept the remote unit very simple (no programming, just XBee configuration).

22904785_1511137292305584_7751452904195678638_o.jpg?oh=4fd42bdc85e716306e2d96755adfd8ba&oe=5AA6D5BA
Jon McPhalen
Hollywood, CA
It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.

Comments

  • 16 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,853
    edited November 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Here's a picture of the prop and remote from Matt's bench.

    ms_prop_remote.jpg

    1024 x 768 - 610K
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • I always enjoy these creations. Congrats to your friend for a job well done.
    just curious: what is it supposed to do? Time travel machine?
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I am only an egg -- Stranger in a Strange land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,853
    edited November 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    It's a ghost detector. As the spectral energy increases, the on-screen display changes and the lighted tower on top intensifies. In the film, an actor could manipulate the prop behavior. For the stage show, they wanted the device to respond without anyone touching it; this is what lead to the remote control. The prop firmware sends a query to the XBee in the remote. If it responds within 25ms, the pot and button values from the remote are used. If there is no response, the local pot value is used.

    Matt is a very talented designer and I love working with him on projects.
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • It looks awesome. It reminds me of a home-brew tube ham radio.
  • That's a sweet looking rig! Thanks for showing us what's possible, gets the creative juices flowing. :cool:
  • I does indeed look like the tube receivers I was building in the 1970's. Dymo labels and all.

    It also looks the ghost detector a hardware engineer I worked with built for real in the late 1980's.

    His machine never detected any ghosts as far as I remember but it made a very good data logger that people wanted to buy. He ended up quitting his job and started a company to produce them.

  • Very cool Jon.

    I would love to work on these type of projects.
    It would be cool to see this and Matt on Adam Savage's Tested show.

    Thanks for sharing this.
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,853
    edited November 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Matt has been on Tested a couple times (Monsterpalooza episodes) and has met Adam -- one time he showed him the DEF CON 22 badge which I helped design and wrote code for, along with my IronMac shield for it.

    If you've watched Tested, you've also seen Frank Ippolito. He's a friend of ours. I've done a couple simple things for Frank, including the pulsing control for his Han Solo in Carbonite refrigerator (he handed me a Schmarschmino, so I had to use it).
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • Is the short film available online? Would love to see this running.
    San Mateo, CA
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,853
    edited November 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I will ask Ed (Midgnight Syndicate) if he's going to post the short film.

    Matt sent me this small clip that shows the prop working, though it doesn't show off the tower lighting animation much -- the tower does a lot more than is shown in this video.


    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    Matt has been on Tested a couple times (Monsterpalooza episodes) and has met Adam -- one time he showed him the DEF CON 22 badge which I helped design and wrote code for, along with my IronMac shield for it.

    If you've watched Tested, you've also seen Frank Ippolito. He's a friend of ours. I've done a couple simple things for Frank, including the pulsing control for his Han Solo in Carbonite refrigerator (he handed me a Schmarschmino, so I had to use it).

    Very nice. Funny you mention Frank Ippolito, I just started to listening to his and Len Peralta's CreatureGeek Podcast on Tested. Very cool info and Frank has a real interesting back story. I'll have to check out the Monsterpalooza episodes on Tested.

    The vid of the prop is awesome. Thanks for posting it.
  • Thanks for the link to the video, it looks great!

    That SEETRON display reads very well, nice and vivid. How do you drive it?
    San Mateo, CA
  • It's an OLED display. I wrote a simple object for it that is attached.
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    It's an OLED display. I wrote a simple object for it that is attached.
    Does the OLED display handle the character generation itself? It looks like you're just writing to it as if it were a terminal.
  • Love it!! Enjoyed your xBee API article in Nuts and Volts as well!! Well done!!
  • JohnR2010 wrote: »
    Love it!! Enjoyed your xBee API article in Nuts and Volts as well!! Well done!!
    Thanks!

    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
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