Talking Skull

Introduction: Talking Skull

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

This talking skull says whatever you want (you record a message) and it
starts talking when the camera sees a certain color (you program the color).

An Arduino converts speech (on the fly) to servo movements for the jaw. A Pixy camera detects color (you choose the color) and activates the skull when the color comes into the camera's view.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

You will need:

Arduino Uno

Recording Module Radio Shack #276-1323

HiTec HS 311 Servo motor (or similar)

Pixy Camera (

5 Volt relay

DPST switch

2n3904 transistor

IN4004 diode

3d Printed Parts:

If you don't have a printer, try for someone local to print the 3d files.

Step 2:

Attach the servo horn to the lower jaw.

Step 3:

Add the servo and jaw to the base.

Step 4:

Install the switch in the base box.

Step 5:

Record your message, then remove the playback button.

Step 6:

Solder wire wrap wires to the traces that the playback button used to bridge.

Step 7:

Use tape to hold the module in the module holder. This is used to reduce the chance of the module making electrical contact with other components.

Step 8:

Wire according to the schematic shown in the earlier step. Program the Arduino with the "sketch mouth" and add the two batteries.

Close the top and you should be ready to operate.

To program the Pixy, Press the little white button on top of the Pixy and hold until the front LED turns red. Release. Place an item of chosen color in front of the Pixy. The LED should turn approximately the color of the item. Press and release the little white button (like a mouse click). The Pixy LED should flash a couple of times. It is now programmed to the color desired.

In the Arduino sketch, the value for "number" determines how much volume must be seen before the servo starts moving--the higher the number, the greater the volume.

If you try to use one power supply instead of two, continuous spikes (as seen on an oscilloscope) will prevent the Arduino from decoding the sound. For me, it was more simple to use two supplies rather than figure out how to kill this noise.

If you use a sound source other than the Radio Shack module (like a speaker attached through an amplifier to a microphone), remember that the Arduino wants no more than 5 volts on the input (A3 in this example). If you have more power, put two resistors in series across the speaker output (like 1K and 2K), then tie one end of the 1K to Arduino ground and the other end of the 1K to A3 on the Arduino--this will drop 2/3 of the voltage.

Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge
    • Finish It Already Speed Challenge

      Finish It Already Speed Challenge

    6 Discussions


    This is the most twistedly funny thing I have seen today. We are always playing small pranks on each other at work, I am going to have to make one of these to heckle my coworkers. It looks like it would be easy to modify the skull into all sorts of things to keep this desktoy all year round. Great job.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah! You could replace the sensor with two or three switches . . . have different messages depending on which switch you push. Or use two servo motors and move the upper lip and lower lip. Maybe I'll do something with a talking Christmas tree this year . . .


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice!

    I guess it's almost that time of year again isn't it? Yay for Halloween!