Introduction: Making a "mad, Evil Scientists" Story Teller
Third Prize in the
Halloween Decorations Challenge
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:
Step 1: What Do You Need?
- 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
- small amplifier
- small speaker
- 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
Step 2: The Idea and the Circuit
The idea was, that the brain lights up in dependency of the CPU load.
There was a software in the internet called "LED meter". I still have the software and I am using it but unfortunately the Author decided to close down his web page.
But I found an alternative: LED Meter by Sir West. This program is not measuring anything but it produces nice pattern with the LED´s.
The software drives the 8 bits of a parallel port.
To have enough power to drive all the LED´s I used the ULN 2803 as a driver.
Connecting the ULN 2803 is very simple. You can find some additional informations here: CLICK
The LED´s on my circuit below are for control purposes. The black wires are connecting the brain to the circuit.
I decided to run the LED´s with 5V. So the brown wire goes to the GND and the red one to +5V.
Step 3: The Brain
The model of the human brain comes in three parts. I glued two parts together, so I have two half brains.
In the back I drilled some big holes to have space for the cabling and glueing.
I drilled several 5mm holes and hot glued the LED´s randomly in place, soldered them to the resistors and the black cables.
Then I user some brass nails, silver wires and glass gems to simulate some cabling.
With two component clay I glued the two halves together.
I connected the circuit to a computer, loaded the program and did the final test.
Voila, it is alive ;-)
Step 4: The Case and the Brain
The top of the case:
For the mounting of the brain I used a trivet and painted it with brass colour.
The acrylic dome fits perfect into the trivet.
I drilled three 5mm holes and hot glued red LED´s in it.
The LED´s are connected vie its resistors to 5V and will light if the power comes on.
Then I screwed the brain into the trivet and filled the room with red semi transparent glass chips.
Then I covered the brain by the acrylic dome.
I used a small laptop speaker for the audio out.
As you can see in the back on the left hand side I cut some wooden rings out of multiplex and used a copper tube as a stand.
The sound is quite good.
The mother board don´t has an amplifier. So I used a small mono amp to boost up the sound.
On picture three you can see the amp driven by 5V from the mother board.
The two channels of the stereophonic out (green connector) are connected together by two 32 Ohm resistors.
I bought a standard PC microphone and disassembled it.
From multiplex wood I cut another ring and mounted the microphone behind an old ear trumpet.
It´s functioning very very well. The microphone works very sensitive. The microphone is connected to the pink front connector.
As well I used a standard USB camera and glued it into an other multiplex housing.
The stand is a standard stand for mini cameras.
I am using a switch (see picture three in the foreground) to switch the camera on and off.
The front panel:
I used three brass washers as a cover for three status lights.
- Brain stimulation ;-)
All status indicators are lit by an white LED.
The push button to power the computer on is covered by a washer as well.
Th back panel was cut from a brass coated aluminium lattice.
You can see the connector on the parallel port.
Step 5: Inside the Case
Inside the case you can see the cabling and how the main board and the other parts are mounted.
Step 6: The Software
I am using Windows XP SP3 on this computer.
It was installed on a 32 GByte CF - industrial Card.
Windows is working quite well and fast.
I loaded some audio books and music on the computer so it can tell story's and sing ;-) .
The computer is powerful enough to do Skype conversation and this is a very funny situation to talk to your "brain driven" computer.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me.
With kind regards,
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.