Picture of Big Warm Fuzzy Secret Heart
This is a pillow with a secret surprise inside. When you hug it, squeeze it, sit on it, whatever - it vibrates! I made it fuzzy and heart shaped in honor of Code Monkey.

I have made a couple of these and I leave them on the sofa for unsuspecting visitors.

I've been interested in touch and pressure sensors in soft toys for a while now, and this pillow is about the simplest sensor/motor combination you can do. It consists of an outer fabric shell, a battery/motor assembly, and two fabric switches that act as pressure sensors.

  • Two pieces of fabric big enough for the front and back of the pillow
  • pager or cell phone vibrator motor
  • a battery holder for 2 AA batteries
  • a piece of small scrap plastic with a convex shape, like the top of a tube of lip balm or a piece of a milk carton handle
  • a couple inches of conductive fabric
  • a couple feet of conductive thread
  • some insulating fabric with a little thickness to it, like wool or felt
  • a couple strips of scrap fabric
  • a couple inches of velcro
  • stuffing! you can reclaim this from a thrift-store pillow; the outside may be nasty but the inside has been protected and will usually be perfectly fine

Some of the materials are hard to find; check out the last step for sources.

  • sewing machine
  • biggish needle
  • good scissors for the fabric; crappy scissors for the plastic scrap
  • hot glue gun
  • soldering iron

I showed these and some other variations off at the Maker Faire this May 19th and 20th with my collaborator, Annie Shao, at our Tribbles and Veeblefetzers workshop. More info on our workshop is at http://makerfaire.com/pub/e/195

Thanks to Lea Anna Drown and Matt Ho for taking the excellent pictures, and to Jen Kwong for modelling on the kitty cat pillow.
TroyRedStone7 months ago

I don't know if this is a good project or not, but your laugh in this picture compels me to add this as a favorite.

Great instructable!
Where did you get the pink fuzzy material? I'm going to make one of these and I can't find some anywhere!
rachel (author)  kirinwantsaskateboard2 years ago
Ah, I made this several years ago and I no longer remember where I got that fabric! If you can't find any fake fur you like locally, you may have luck finding it or similar fake fur online. Expect to spend about $15-20 per yard for a similar quality (of course you can get much more expensive fake furs as well). Post pictures when you're done, I'd love to see how yours turns out!
You should put a code cheat sheet on the opposite side.
I like the idea of calling it George... that seems to be a common nickname at our school...
Code monkey like youuu... a lot...
And so do I, for this GREAT instructable :]]
itsachen6 years ago
Code Monkey very simple man
with big warm fuzzy secret heart
Ah..good song
Doctor What7 years ago
Where did you get the bitch fabric??
Tableleg7 years ago
That's so cool! I'm going to have Code Monkey stuck in my head all day now!!
randofo8 years ago
If you add a 556 chip you can sell it for $120

yuryg randofo8 years ago
rachel, cool project. randofo, for the record "my beating heart" doesn't use a 556. it uses a 8mhz chip. The chip runs an algorithm. the algorithm dynamically models the human heart in a meditative state. it took over a year to research, develop, and implement the code on the chip.. i can see how it is easy to make the confusion, but a 556 chip it is not... : )
Coffee bean8 years ago
you vibrate what now????
rachel (author)  Coffee bean8 years ago
Well, you know, whatever's on top of the pillow!