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Gadget Freak Case #234: We Love This Automated Mailbox
3/12/2013

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Jeremy Willden created small mailboxes for his daughters' Valentine's Day cards. The boxes use a sensor to open automatically when someone walks by.
Jeremy Willden created small mailboxes for his daughters' Valentine's Day cards. The boxes use a sensor to open automatically when someone walks by.

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Soldering Gunslinger
User Rank
Iron
Re: Automated Mailbox: Build Instructions
Soldering Gunslinger   7/21/2015 12:55:18 PM
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WOW!  I find myself wishing for young children (no Grandchildren yet). 

I could see myself taking the circuit board out of a "Croaking Frog" and using it to trigger a servo back in the days before Arduinos, et al. 

An airplane servo can be controlled with a 555 timer circuit and doesn't require the computing power of the Arduino...but then, I admit that I am "old school" when it comes to electronics...Timers and Opamps and FETs, Oh My!

 

I remain,

The Old Soldering Gunslinger

mrdon
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
mrdon   4/20/2013 2:31:15 AM
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Nancy, I'm seeing a trend where products that are meant for kids, more adults seem to embrace them (Ex. LEGO Mindstorms). I guess it's the inner child that's coming out of the adult.:)

Cadman-LT
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Platinum
Nice
Cadman-LT   4/11/2013 2:51:15 AM
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So cool of a project for your daughters!! Hope they got a bit of knowledge from it as well.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
Nancy Golden   3/22/2013 1:19:14 PM
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I agree, mrdon. Our family had a great time together when we encouraged and mentored our son through his science project where he tested out various fin designs and their effect on model rockets. He was in sixth grade and it was a very special opportunity to nurture a budding curiosity in science in a fun and exciting way. We took the three different models our son built to a field and he recorded altitude and flightpath for each of the three different fin designs. I don't know who had more fun - Son or Mom and Dad!

mrdon
User Rank
Platinum
Automated Mailbox: Build Instructions
mrdon   3/22/2013 1:47:04 AM
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Jeremy, I really enjoyed your Gadget Freak project. Nice way to share tech as family by making cool interactive toys! I also found your build instructions to be clear and simple. I noticed you used ExpressPCB software to draw the circuit schematic diagram. Very very nice project. Thanks for sharing this special Gadget Freak project with us!

mrdon
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
mrdon   3/22/2013 1:33:49 AM
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Nancy, I was thinking about an NDA as well for such a cool and innovative project. LOL Technology not only solves problems but brings families together. What a Great Gadget Freak story!

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: MAILBOX
Charles Murray   3/15/2013 6:26:40 PM
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I, too, like the family aspect of this story. I also agree that this girl will remember this project for many, many years (especially since the project got a little bit of extra publicity). Who knows? Maybe this will inspire her to be a design engineer.

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Technology Influence
Mydesign   3/15/2013 5:11:23 AM
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1 saves
"Isn't that the truth, Mydesign?? I remember when my school project was to build an American settler house with toothpicks! We have come such a looooonnnng way from that. It's amazing how tech savvy kids are today. Sometimes a bit frightening, even!"

Elizabet, School projects and student's interests are different. In schools they used to do the projects with thermo cool sheets and similar substances, but at the other hand they are more interested in using most soficated devices.

bobjengr
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Platinum
MAILBOX
bobjengr   3/14/2013 5:25:47 PM
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Now this is one cool story.  I love the interaction with everyone in the family AND the fact that a great demonstration of engineering, at it best, was given.  I'm sure your daughter will remember this "gadget" for years and years and I suspect it will be one of her most treasured items as she grows up.   Bridges, automobles, appliances, aircraft engines is what we do for a livig--designs like this one is what we do for our families.  Great post.  Love this one.

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Automatic mailboxes: cute indeed
Ann R. Thryft   3/14/2013 1:35:21 PM
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Thanks, Nancy. I actually knew people in a remote area of Idaho where bears get into the orchard and with a very long driveway--that's where I first heard of these systems. And we'll be posting an update soon about the forum idea.

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