Project Outline & Feasibility: Magical Wand (Harry Potteresque)

So, After having been inspired by a number of magical wands with led-lights embedded in the tip, and of course by the somewhat magical ‘Kymera gesture IR wand’, I wondered why no-one have taken the next few steps and created a truly magical wand.

The Basic Specs, in order of importance

Battery Powered: LiPo?

  • Rechargable by USB
  • User exchangeable
  • Both in combination

Board Size

  • The most limiting factor
  • Handle of wand, no bigger than ~25mm in diameter, and ~100mm in length

Storage Capacity

  • The bigger the better
  • The ability to store multiple commands & gestures, as well as their linked reaction

Comment: For batteries, we would need something that could endure regular usage for ~10 hours before charge, or possibly less if batteries are quickly exchanged. As a basic board, I have considered the ‘Arduino Micro’, ‘Arduino (Pro) Mini’, ‘Arduino Nano’ or the ‘Lillypad Arduino Simplesnap’. The first three would fit into the handle as a pen into a cap, where as the Lillypad would be attached to the bottom of the handle, probably in connection with the lid.

The Action Features, in order of importance

Button Activated ← Not really wanted at all!

  • This is the standard in most simple LED wands today (all of whom are board-less, except the Kymera)
  • Not really something that we would want, but probably the simplest way to success
  • Would heavily limit the possible features, as one cannot have buttons all over the wand’s handle.

Voice Commands* Questionable?

  • Different voice commands producing different reactions (light, sound, vibration, communication)

Gestures* Doable! (muti-axis accelerometers (10DOF))

  • Different wand movements producing different reactions (light, sound, vibration, communication)

*= These two would ultimately work best together, requiring the combination of both voice command and gesture to produce result. This is also probably the hardest part of the whole project, especially as voices tend to differ between individuals…

The Reaction Features, in order of importance

Light ← The main, and most important feature - non-excludable

  • 5mm LED (as it needs to fit into the tip of the wand)
  • RGB, UV, or ultimately both (if possible, either by a single diode, or by tweaking)
  • On/Off (both semi-permanent and timed)
  • Dim-able based on different actions
  • Different colours based on different actions

Vibration Doable!

  • As a way of signifying that the action performed (i.e. ‘spell’) failed (i.e. not recognised)

Speaker

  • Primarily for sound effetcs
  • possibly to magnify users voice in conjunction with a ‘sonorous’ spell (Basically, a megaphone function)

Communication

  • Magical ability to dim lights, play with the stereo, basically interacting with all things interactionable
  • This is a huge extra feature, that is somewhat less important than the rest though…
  • WiFi (1st option)
  • Bluetooth (2nd option)

Budget (per wand)

Costs

  • ~ $200 US
  • But of course as little as practically possible, as the main goal is for this to be a somewhat affordable wand for the geeks and geekettes out there!

Retail Price

  • MAX €500 US
  • Preferably lower…

Basically, Within the listed budget and size/durability requirements, would this at all be possible?

Yes, quite possible I'm sure. For the worlds top tech manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, etc. I imagine you will need to place an order for perhaps a million units it make it worth their while, R&D costs etc.

Good luck!

Paul

PS. Samsung/Sony won't be using Arduino in their design, don't suggest that to them or they won't take your 1 million unit order very seriously...

Did that make you feel good? That was not at all helpful, nor was it called for. Well done, Sir.

Ok, you need to sense motion, no problem, a gyro accelerometer combination would do that.

Sound, not a big issue to detect, but voice command recognition? The problem here is that it needs a lot of processing power to do properly. You could of course think of ways of cheating...

It would be a massive challenge. You would have to learn a lot about coding Arduinos though.

Please accept my apologies. Re-reading my reply, I realise my sarcasm came over less light-hearted than I intended. I am such a muggle...

What I meant to convey is that you should significantly reduce your design goals if you want to achieve a level of success. Otherwise you really will need the resources I was suggesting!

Paul

pretty cool idea you got there. :grin: i think it can be done with much less than 200$ and i would say that your most limiting factor would be the battery (especially if you want 10 hours of usage). Also not sure how the voice commands could possibly work....

Hall effect sensors and hidden magnets might help accomplish some of your ideas.

Laivindil:
Did that make you feel good? That was not at all helpful, nor was it called for. Well done, Sir.

I have some sympathy for @PaulS's comments.

Making a stick with flashing lights is one thing - and probably doesn't need any MCU.
Doing the external effects that you describe is quite another thing - and would need serious R + D.

I certainly would not want some "magician" coming into my house and interfering with my wifi system. How would I know he wasn't a "dirty-old-man" stealing images of my children or my bank account data?

...R

PS ... I wouldn't, either, want to buy my kids a gadget that interferes with my wifi system.

Greensprings:
Im not quite so sure, i have a box on a keychain that makes different farting sounds based on my mood, and i am pretty sure it doesnt run on arduino.... it always makes me happy

  • 1

...R

Some of the objectives are plausible, others not. A "megaphone" for example makes no sense at all in such a form factor. 10 hours battery life for a LiPo is reasonable, given that it would be used for only a few minutes at a time. Remote control via Bluetooth or WiFi is plausible given that fairly compact modules for these functions are available, though a bit difficult to use.

As always, using an Arduino for speech recognition is absurd, but single-purpose peripheral chips are available, in this context the intonation is actually more important than the actual words (isn't it?)

Gesture control is a cinch using the muti-axis accelerometers (10DOF) and really does key in with the concept. Vibration is no problem and some audible response do-able, just not loud.

Greensprings:
Im not quite so sure, i have a box on a keychain that makes different farting sounds based on my mood, and i am pretty sure it doesnt run on arduino.... it always makes me happy

There are some that do not need a box on a keychain to make those sounds. :grin:

Henry_Best:
There are some that do not need a box on a keychain to make those sounds. :grin:

Of course we have no evidence that there is anything inside the box. :slight_smile:

...R

PaulRB: Apologies accepted. As I stated this is a list of all the features we could come up with. We realise that we probably won’t be able to cram it all in. Also, we are considering doing this project as a ‘Kickstarter’, and getting a company to produce the wand (except for the outer shell that would allow for different looks)

ChilliTronix: Ok, do you have any ideas as to small gyros/accelerometers that might fit inside the handle of the wand? Come to think of it, it would be the tip of the wand that would move the most, and that’s kinda skinny, but probably the place to put the sensors?

Henry_Best: Are you thinking about the possibility to use Hall Effect Sensors as an on/off switch or for something else entirely? Did you perhaps think of placing hidden magnets in the environment, and have the wand react to these? In that case, that would unfortunately limit the usage of the wand to places where such magnets have been placed. I might be all off the track here though…

Paul__B: OK, so we can scratch the megaphone-function off the list. Using a LiPo battery is a good idea. I am familiar with these, but there is still the question if we want to make them removeable or just rechargeable in the wand itself - this is not really an arduino question though. Would you care to elaborate on the difficulty of use in regard to wifi/bluetooth? I am thinking this might be done in combination with a smartphone app, as having the wand and the phone linked, and the phone executing the bigger stuff, although it would of course be nice if we could circumvent the phone-idea.

As for the speech recognition, how would it be to connect a single purpose chip to the arduino board to work together with gestures? Also, intonation would probably be more important, yes. As most peoples dialect are different, they could still have to “work out the intonation” in the same way as you would learn a spell in a charm’s class (e.g. Vin-Gaaa RDI-Umh Levi Oh Saah!)

Gestures seem like the easiest thing to fix, I will have a look at different hardware and come back with some suggestions, if you didn’t have anything specific in mind.

As mentioned earlier in this comment, the speaker-thing seems less likely to happen, and isn’t really that important either, as most spells would be cast by using a loud voice (even without voice recognition).

Vibration seems simple enough to incorporate as well.

More Questions: Having updated the list of specifications to reflect your comments (have a look) I am still unsure as to which arduino board that would best fit the remaining requirements. Also, in relation to LED’s it seems that there are no single led that combines both RGB and UV, any ideas on how to combine them, while still using a small 5mm led?

Laivindil:
Having updated the list of specifications to reflect your comments (have a look)

For the future - it makes it very difficult to make sense of a Thread if you edit an earlier post that other people have already commented on - because the comments no longer make sense. Put the amendments, or the revised list in a new post rather than changing earlier stuff.

...R

Agreed, as is why I am only adding stuff to the list, or using the strike-through function :slight_smile:

You could try a MPU-6050 which is available on boards which are too large for your end product but if you can get it working then you can build a better model later with just the chip.

You could try to house just a few vital parts in the "wand" for the prototype. The rest could be connected via a cable to a pack kept in the pocket, including batteries. Once you have proved the prototype, the kickstater campaign could include funds for a professional engineering team to miniaturise it so the whole things fits in the wand handle.

As for controlling objects, an IR transmitter led could be included to control TVs. Different guestures detected by the gyro module could result in different IR codes sent such as on/off, channel up/down etc. Of course, different TV makes use different codes, but the wand could send 3 or 4 of the most commonly used codes in rapid succession.

I'm pretty sure I've seen these on the market already. At least the gesture to remote control part.

The IR to stereo is called Kymera Wand. Google it.

So, After having been inspired by a number of magical wands with led-lights embedded in the tip, and of course by the somewhat magical 'Kymera gesture IR wand', I wondered why no-one have taken the next few steps and created a truly magical wand.

This confuses me. "... a truly magical wand." So what you are talking about is an IR remote control in a wand:

Wand remotes on Amazon

But with more stuff?

The vibration to signal a failed gestural command is good. The RGB LED could be a part of this. I presume this means it lights up different colors when signaling different remote commands, or sending to different components (TV, surround sound, Blue Ray, etc).

Why would it have a UV LED?

Bluetooth and/or WiFi is good. Roku uses bluetooth remotes. I don't know about the rest.

I didn't comment on the things you struck out, or the things that are already in other wand remotes.

What is 500 Euro US?

Personally, I'm more interested in a Sonic Screwdriver or a Next Gen Star Trek Tricorder remote.

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver Remote

But I wouldn't pay 500 Euro or 500 dollars for one. But that is just my opinion.

The IR to stereo is called Kymera Wand. Google it.

Glass houses.