Engineering took a terrifying turn at Pack Expo in Chicago on Halloween, as the pneumatic equipment supplier Bimba Manufacturing Co. demonstrated the air-powered Scary Guy for some of the show's 46,000 attendees.
Meet the Scary Guy. (Source: Design News)
The Scary Guy is an animatronic figure built by the Scare Factory. Bimba supplied components for electronic controls, air cylinders, valves, fittings, and filters to enable the figure to move its upper body independently. Bimba engineers said the pneumatic bill of materials for the Scary Guy amounted to less than $300.
Haunted houses (HH) are big business. I calculated once, based on the supposed attendance of a local HH, that a typical attraction could rake in about $400,000 a season. Good HHs sell tickets for $20-30 these days too, so perhaps my number is a little low.
I tried to talk my engineering friends into building one, but they were scared to try. Pun intended.
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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