Unusual Gadget

Here is another device in my a series I am calling "Enigma Gadgets," several of which I have posted information about here before. It's a handheld interactive device that responds to tilt and acceleration. Eight relays around the perimeter of the device are there just for the clicking noise they make, to create the illusion that something is moving or spinning inside. An accelerometer feeds data about tilt and movement to an Arduino program that turns the relays on and off. The clicking animation effect is reinforced by red and blue light-emitting diodes that echo the spatial effect of the sound. It is labeled "Standard Device" for to heighten the sense of enigma.


Craig Hickman

Nice toy you have there!

Should I see this just a novelty or does it have a function? Not that something needs to have a function ;)

Where did you get that nice box?



It’s more of an art project. I was more interested in creating an experience. I made the case myself with a milling machine.


I really love this, especially that you crafted that box by hand. I'm sure if you were to post some construction details, people like me would eat it up! :) Thanks for sharing!


Sure, I can have something on my web site (dryreading.com) in a couple of days.


that was really cool! so hold on, the relays have no purpose or do they light the led's? or are the led's and the relays hooked up separate? also, which relays are those? they're very loud for relays that can fit in that small box....

The relays aren't hooked up to anything to control. It was just easier to hook the LEDs up to pins directly. I am using Radio Shack 5 volt relays. By creating the recesses in the case (as shown in the picture) and using glue, the sound of the clicking seems to be amplified by the case.

intresting... now is it the 5v reed relays, or is it the squarish black boxy ones?

i've used many reed relays, and they have never been that loud, so i'm pretty sure it's the other ones....

Yes, they are the black square ones. There's a picture on the bottom of the web page linked to in the first post.

I LOVE this sort of thing. Seems most of my Arduino thinking of late has been more towards art projects as well. This is beautifully constructed and suitably enigmatic.

Are the connectors visible along the side practical, or is there some misdirection there as well?

Thanks! The side of the device has a power switch and a connector to the battery charger. It uses a flat lithium ion battery and charger from Spark Fun.

One more thing. There are vent holes spaced out around the perimeter of the case.

You know what this is starting to remind me of? "My Science Project." The sequence where John Stockwell's character, a very good auto mechanic, is messing around with the alien gizmo trying to figure out what it does and how to make it work.