Magic 8-Ball meets an MCU in a vinyl toy

Computers & Mobile Fun & Games Technology
Magic 8-Ball meets an MCU in a vinyl toy

Here’s a fascinating project over at SparkFun where they took one of the Munny “DIY” vinyl toys and embedded a Logomatic datalogger (with its LPC2138 MCU), a Nokia screen clone, and an accelerometer inside. The idea is to use the device as a sort of 21st century Magic 8-Ball, dubbed the Sinister 7. Pete, the builder, is not just playing games here, tho. He wants to explore whether technology can be used to communicate with the unseen forces, vis a vis Ouija Boards and the like. He writes:

I’m an engineer. I’ve been trained to think logically and employ scientific method pretty much all of the time with whatever’s presented before me (though my wife may argue that point). And yet, I believe in all manner of kooky fringe stuff. Or at least I’m willing to entertain possibilities based on what I don’t know. UFO’s? Absolutely. Ghosts? I eat’em up. Well, why not? I’ll never be running for political office. I can examine evidence with the best of them and I certainly don’t need an “expert” to interpret what I’m seeing for me. I can look at these things and I draw my own conclusions.

And here’s what he has working so far:

Right now, the code starts out with a simple splash screen, then it goes to a menu. The menu contains 3 items currently: Fortune Teller, Powerball Numbers and I Ching. Why Powerball? Hey, somebody’s gotta win. This seems like as reasonable of a way to pick the numbers as any. And I Ching? Yeah…I don’t have that working yet. I wanted something else for the menu and that seemed a likely thing to have, especially since it’s basically just a 1 to 64 random number thing. Right up the Sinister 7’s alley. Anyway, one of the buttons is to scroll through the menu and the other is to select. The tri-color LED tells me when the random number generator is operating. I was using it for debugging, but I have no reason to remove it, so there you are.

Detecting ̠ther РLink

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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