After I started learning to program my Ardunio this evolved into a photocell actuated video "on demand" Halloween display. I used an example I found on Arkadian.eu to control a Dell Mini 9 netbook running AutoHotKey. When the photocell switch is tripped the Arduino sends a serial message to the Dell laptop which is converted to a keystroke by AAC Keys which in turn triggers the below AutoHotKey Script and finally plays back using VLC. The "AAC Keys" could probably be replaced by setting up your Arduino as a USB HID but at the time this was all a foreign language to me.
So, lets get to the build!
Step 1: Hardware: Don't lose your head over this.
In addition to the switch my hardware list included:
- 4 styrofoam heads (found on eBay)
- Dell Mini 9 netbook for video playback
- A 800x600 VGA projector
- Old Karaoke machine for audio playback
- Arduino UNO
- Radioshack project box to keep the Arduino dry and happy
- And the previously mentioned photocell and 12v wall wart