Instructables

Nocturnal Emissions: My Arduino Powered Internet Enabled Dream Generator

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We all need to dream more so I've created this Arduino Powered "dream generator" to help plant the seeds for some big thinking craziness.  When you approach the generator a Maxbotix ultrasonic sensor triggers lights and music that draw you in so you can stare into the blue LED enshrouded infiniteness of the box.  Press the pulsing blue button and a thermal receipt printer generates your dream which is mashed up from Allan Ginsberg's poem Howl Part 1, and the twitter feeds of the NY Times and pop star Taylor Swift.  The juxtaposition of these three elements is designed to stimulate your own free-associating amygdala powered dream machine so you can make papa Descartes proud in your quest for absolute dream supremacy! 
 
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Step 1: The Basic Components

Picture of The Basic Components
My dream generator includes a lot of separate components and getting them to work together is a challenge. Here's a laundry list of what it entails.

There's a Maxbotix LV-EZ1 Ultrasonic Proximity sensor. http://www.adafruit.com/products/172 They weren't kidding. It is pretty easy. It's got 7 hook up holes but you only really need three of them if you want to use PWM which seems to be a little more accurate than Analog. It takes a PWM pin on your Arduino though so that could be a factor in your project.

It's got a string of awesome blue LEDs from SuperBright LEDs. They run on 12 Volts which created some powering complications that I'll explain later.

There's a music box that plays my own custom song. The LEDs and the music box are activated by an approaching person (or pet, they can dream too can't they?) when the sensor gets to a predetermined proximity reading.

There's a cool blue pulsing button that activates dream generation. (And happens to be waterproof.) http://www.adafruit.com/products/481 (Be careful when ordering this because there's one with an identical picture that's an on/off switch.) For our purposes we wanted one that acts as a pushbutton.

There's a thermal receipt printer that prints out the dreams. http://www.adafruit.com/products/600

And finally there's an Ethernet Enabled Arduino. (You could also use a regular Arduino and an Ethernet Shield.)

So it all goes together like this. You are attracted to the box because of the blue pulsing button. As you approach the entire thing lights up and mysterious music begins to play. You press the button to activate the dream generator and it goes out to the internet and mashes up relevant (or irrelevant) internet fodder such as twitter feeds, headlines, facebook statuses, etc. and then mashes them up through the filter of iconic Beat poet Allan Ginsberg's signature work Howl and voila! You've turned the internet into your friend instead of a mind numbing cavalcade of non-sequiters.
wilgubeast8 months ago
Awesome. Can you include the text of one of the mashups you generated? I need some dreamspiration and probably won't finish this project before I next nap.
SuperExtraLimo (author)  wilgubeast8 months ago
Yes! The one in the picture features a tweet from Taylor Swift and a headline from the NY Times Arts section. When you mash it up with the Ginsberg you get . . .

“Happy. Free. Confused. Lonely. At the same time. (@TaylorSwift13) An Outsized Rapscalion let loose in postwar England! (@nytimesarts) Incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, Illuminating all the motionless world of time between. (AG, Howl)” Sweet Dreams!