Instructables
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The human cortex is the most powerful "calculating engine" and "memory system" that exists. It is small, has a huge storage capacity and needs less energy to work. ;-)

The idea was to have a "talking brain" that tells stories and has the capability to SKYPE with.

So I build a computer with a camera (left in the front), a speaker (left in the back) and a microphone (right in the back).
And of course with a brain ;-)

Video: LED´s powered by CPU load:



Video: LED´s powered by pattern:
 

 
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Step 1: What do you need?

Picture of What do you need?
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At first you need a cheap main board. I found in the internet a main board from a thin client. The board is powered by 12V single voltage by an external power supply. It is a full passive board, that needs no fan at all.
  • 1,5 GHz Geode CPU
  • VGA on Board
  • LAN on Board
  • Riser Card
  • KBD / Mouse PS/2
  • 2 x USB on the back
  • 2 x USB on the front
  • Sound on Board
  • CF - Slot that acts as a hard drive
  • PCI Slot
  • IDE Port

I bought to operate this board:
  • 512 MByte RAM
  • PCI WLAN Card
  • 32 GByte industrial CF - Card for the operating system (WIN XP SP3)
  • small USB camera
  • microphone
  • small amplifier
  • small speaker
For the "add ons":
  • an anatomic brain model
  • 2 switches (for the LED´s and for the camera)
  • 1 bush button (power on)
  • some brass washer´s, screws and applications
  • a acrylic glass dome that fits the brain
  • a trivet
  • some pieces of multiplex wood for the case
  • some silver wire
  • some red broken glass pieces
  • some red glass gems
  • 3 white LED´s ultra bright
  • 4 green LED´s ultra bright
  • 7 red LED´s ultra bright
  • 4 blue LED´s ultra bright
  • 4 green LED´s ultra bright
  • 8 normal 3mm LED´s for control purposes
  • 31 220 Ohm Resistors
  • a driver circuit (ULN 2803 (this as a darlington, open collector driver.))
  • a parallel port socket
  • some cablings


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Tanamoril11 months ago
I love it! It reminds me of that brain out of The City of Lost Children!
One thing that I think would really put this instructable "over the top" is instead of using the model brain , which looks great by the way , if there was a way to make it out of something softer and opaque so it was not transparent or it actually could be like a clear surgical tubing or something very flexible like that.

What I was going for , was the effect of a pump pushing fluid through it to make the brain actually look like it has a "pulse" or blood flow going through it causing it to slightly but noticeably grow and then collapse while it was being pressurized by the fluid flow "pulse".
That WOULD look so freaky.
And then if you were clever enough to incorporate some optical fiber strands throughout the brain and make it appear to have electrical impulse synapses or brain signals firing to different areas of the brain which could be seen and watched by the observer.
They make both types of fiber strands.The kind where the light only exits the ends and the other where it gives off a bit of light along its length.
Hidden LED's could be the light sources for the fiber strands.

It would be devilishly clever and cool to look at , that is for sure !!!
I realise that it is a couple of years since your post but I have just read this instructable and had very similar thoughts. For a realistic pulsing action I think that a peristaltic pump would produce the best effect.
Horatius.Steam (author)  Mechanic20112 years ago
This are very nice ideas, thank you. I will keep them in mind for the next "super brain computer". If I build one. If you can provide us with some direct links to such brains and fibre optics could be great.

Thank you again,


Horatius Steam
The ones I was thinking about are the "Optical fiber hair extensions" and can be found on Ebay.They come in sets with a hair beret that houses the light source "LED" and the 2 little hearing aid batteries like the laser pens/pointers use.
I guess that the batteries last for like 5 to 8 hours.
They are 14 inches long and have like 200 strands in them and are cut at random lengths from 14" and shorter.
They come in assorted colors OR as solid single colors depending on whom you get them from.

Here is a link to a "wet brain".

http://www.officialkidscostumes.com/todays-fresh-cut-brain-with-pump.html

I have also found prop "bloody brains" on Ebay.

Since the optical fiber strands run on batteries and they are pretty much impervious to liquids ,I don't see why a person could not put the 2 things together >Given the length ans the small size of the batteries ,it could be hidden most anywhere out of sight.
Horatius.Steam (author)  Mechanic20112 years ago
Thank you very much for the links and hints!

With kind regards,

H. Steam
pfred212 months ago
One of the most impressive projects I've seen on this site. I really can't think of one that has entertained me more in fact. That it speaks German added to it for me. All brains under domes should speak German. I don't know why, but it seems fitting to me for some odd reason.
Hello Horatius, I must say this is extremely clever and impressive. I find your work to be very professional-looking and well-designed. Well done!
Horatius.Steam (author)  Mechabadger1 year ago
Thank you very much.

*make a bow*

Horatius Steam
martiro72 years ago
I didn't see much information about the software you are running on the computer. Is it just hosting some audio or do you have some AI running? Not sure I get the Skype thing either. Does it play pre-recorded audio back thru a Skype connection or do you just use it as a "telephone?" I would be very interested in the direction you have taken.
Horatius.Steam (author)  martiro72 years ago
Good evening,

I am using this for telephone and for normal work.
I installed XP SP3, OpenOffice, Thunderbird and Firefox.

I also installed myHTPC to have a special desktop to play music and audio books.
It can also display the weather forecast :-)

Kind regards,

H. Steam
modwannabe2 years ago
http://www.casemodgod.com/modguides/LEDmeter/led_meter_(2).htm
Horatius.Steam (author)  modwannabe2 years ago
Hey,

great! An other alternative to the program LED - meter.

Thank you for sharing :-)

With kind regards,

Horatius Steam
avatar_i3 years ago
Anyone remember the [original] Sar Trek episode where the encased brains kidnapped Kirk & crewmembers, and bet on who would win the battles?
Imagine if you had three or four of these arguing about which trick-or-treeter would taste better?!
Mwwwaaaahahahahahah!
Oh, sooo much trouble I could get into!!
I actually watched THAT episode of Star Trek when it first was run ,LOL .Funny !!
A human of like mind! I had thought none still existed!
HUZZAH!
Londonbrig03 years ago
This is an amazingly clever project, and it turned out beautifully.

You could use skype to talk through the brain to someone else, acting as the remains of a mad scientist, you could really entertain some kids in a haunted house around Halloween.
I'm not sure why but reading that gave me the image of 2 brains talking to each other in british accents arguing about who stole who's crumpet. XD
Did you say crumpet or was it supposed to be Strumpet , LOL ...
THAT´S really a funny and nice idea! *laugh*

Wo is offering me his brain for the second computer *fg*


Still laughing,


Horatius Steam
This is a great instructable .
One of the coolest ones yet !

Take it to the next level and incorporate speech recognition software and have the "brain" actually interact with people .
You ask it questions and it will answer them via information gleaned from an internet source or something ...
Even more interesting is if it would interact enough to carry on conversations with people or OTHER "brains".
What would really put it over the top is if several "brains" would interact with each other and get into a discussion amongst themselves .

Keep up the great work.
Actually, I'm thinking that what would be really fun to do with this would be to have a confederate in another room, looking through the camera, and using a laptop to "talk" to the vict - er, audience via Skype.

Particularly handy if you've got somebody to pass around a microphone or something at a convention panel.
Hey , that's a cool idea. If your were going to use Skype then the "confederate" or operator could really be most anywhere in the world then ,right ??
All you would need is a server to hook it through maybe less.
As far as the computer "voice" goes , why not use a voice disguiser or synthesizer to accept the voice inputs and make them sound "mechanical" like musicians sometimes use or for that matter like Arnlod S. was using in the movie "True Lies" ,LOL.
Horatius.Steam (author)  Mechanic20112 years ago
Thank you for all the nice replies. I really thought about using the program ELIZA    but I was not able to find it with speech recognition.

With kind regards,


H. Steam
bonzerinc2 years ago
I have no mouth, and I must scream.
You could probably achieve interesting effect by incorporating the mineral oil cooling system shown here
http://www.pugetsystems.com/submerged.php

A bubble maker in there, with the oil refracting the led colors, would be a nice effect I think.
Super_Nerd3 years ago
The two halves of the brain look like mittens.
Treknology3 years ago
This is similar to a project I wanted to do for myself. I'm not wanting the steam-punk look that you've done so well, but something that looks more like "life-support" for the brain inside, maybe with a couple of eyeballs stuck under the frontal lobes?

Where did you obtain the plastic dome?
Horatius.Steam (author)  Treknology3 years ago
Its a half of a plexiglas ball. I obtained it from a store in Hamburg (Germany) or you can find similar here: CLICK

Regards,

H. Steam
Thanks. Your link goes to the store in general and my German is pretty disgusting. Are you able to link to the actual item? Or catalog number?
Horatius.Steam (author)  Treknology3 years ago
Here you have the item: Click 
And you can switch the web page to English: Click
And than use the item Number: 2240216 E
It must not like Australian IPs...
Noctraptor3 years ago
Love City of lost children.. too cool!
City of Lost Children was exactly what I was thinking too! Great movie, cool project H. Steam!
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thats such a great movie!
Horatius.Steam (author)  nathanrudolf3 years ago
Huuuu, what is this? That´s really cool! I am just right going to search for that.


H. Steam
TimPayne3 years ago
Niiiice :)
ckeith33 years ago
This is freaking awesome!
majorchaos3 years ago
This is really cool. You've done a great job.
For an update to this, I've got an idea...
You could run some very fine tubing filled with "blood" along along the crevices of the brain and attach it to a pump that pushes the "blood" around every few seconds. That would be cool and creepy :D
Interesting...
When I read through it, I thought about creating an Arnim Zola-like figure. You could use a small monitor for the chest plate and it would be the other person using Skype. On second thought, that could be creepy.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e2/Zola.PNG
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