Arduino Technology
Ever Been in a Knife Fight with an Octopus?


When your pseudonym is “OutaSpaceMan,” one could almost assume that you’re the type of person that comes up with crazy projects. His knife-wielding, randomly-slashing tentacle seems to fit the bill quite nicely. It’s something you might see in a low-grade space horror film. I would have featured this as a project, but I really do not recommend building yourself.

This slashing tentacle box started out as an experiment to answer a basic question. What would happen if a tentacle was hooked up to a hobby servo motor? OutaSpaceMan “found them at a bargain store in Bognor Regis, in the toy section.” He remarks that “I couldn’t believe my luck as I’ve always found the idea of tentacles hilarious.”

He used a LittleBits module to interface an Arduino Mega 2560 with the servo, and used one of the Arduino example programs, a “blink” sketch, to time when the servo would rotate. Something like this could probably have been accomplished with the Arduino directly, but OutaSpaceMan was working his way through the Arduino tutorial and hadn’t gotten to servo control yet.

As for the results, when attached directly to the tentacle, it flopped around for a somewhat pleasing effect in the first video.

Things in the second video got a lot crazier when the servo was mounted inside a small box, sped up, and “weaponized” with a small knife. As for why make something like this, OutaSpaceMan replied that “The ONLY sensible answer to both those questions is ‘Tumblr.'” Given the number of views these videos have gotten, I’d say his answer is correct.

What is amazing to me is how random and lifelike the knife-flopping is given it’s single-servo control. Again, this is something that should probably be left unbuilt, at least in it’s knife-wielding form. If you’re wondering how this was eventually turned off,  OutaSpaceMan actually just let it run out of battery power.


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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

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