Interesting and timely post, Cabe! It's true technology has come a long way in many arenas, so it's no surprise this type of entertainment is one of them. I was never one for haunted houses myself (I was quite a nervous child anyway :)), but I think it would be cool to have a Scary Door to frighten Halloweeners (yes, I'm a sadist ;)). It's certainly a clever concept!
You're certainly right, Cabe. There were no scary home attractions like this in the '80s, mainly because monitors weren't flat and the only form of video was on VHS tapes. It's amazing what a clever home owner can do these days.
We are having fun using technology this year just by using simple electronic components. Our church is doing a trunk or treat event so we are making our car trunk a dragon's mouth. Besides the styrofoam giant dragon's teeth, we have green LEDs for the eyes, we are using blue tooth to bring in the Jurassic Park dinosaur roar, and the candy bowl is on the giant tongue which has a 12 volt motor hooked to an air pump which goes to an air cylinder so that it moves when the kids reach in to get some candy. Happy Halloween!
Wow, Nancy, it's so clever what you're doing just by applying a little bit of ingenuity and, as you say, simple electronic components to every-day items to make Halloween a little extra fun for the kids this year. I'm sure it will all be a big hit.
Thanks, Elizabeth. The scary door sounds like a fun project but sometimes simplicity works just as well. I always love doing microprocessor-based projects with programming involved but when it is this simple, we can often accomplish the same thing through discrete components...anyone see a 555 timer laying around?
Thanks, this was fun, Cabe. I remember much more primitive scary haunted houses at Halloween, back in the 50s and 60s. They were houses in the larger neighborhood so we didn't always know the people and we were little kids, so it was really scary.
It is certainly true that the presnt level of technology has enabled a whole new set of levels of spookiness and realism to todays Halloween playtime. But even beyond that, there has been a very fundamental change. Back in the sixties and seventies nobody put that much effort into any of it, at least not in most neighborhoods. The effort to provide a door, a monitor, and air cylinders to simulate something is far more than most would have put forth back then. Also, the amount of money spent has increased by a huge proportion. It is clear that one can do a lot more with a $500 budget than with a $10 budget. So the whole thing has changed in a lot of aspects. All pretense of the older religious holiday is gone, replaced by an emphasis on shock and violence and general gore.
Not intending to pass judgement or be very critical, but the whole thing has changed. And every once in a while an engineer should ask them self, "Just because I can, Should I?"
Here are some of the parts we are working on to transform our car trunk into a dragon for our church's "trunk or treat" event tomorrow night. The first pic is hubby's creation - one of two dragon eyes. I put together flames for coming out of the dragon's nostrils in the next two pics - the blue clips with a 9 volt battery rubberbanded to each have a magnet embedded in it so I can just put each on either side of the car. The last pic is of the LED modules we are using to light our beast :)
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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