Got a big head or know someone else that does? Literally inflate your ego with this mind-blowing project! Anytime someone hashtags your name on an Instagram photo or video, a balloon (with your head on it) will fill with helium. The more popular you are, the bigger the balloon will inflate, stretching your head into oblivion. Oh the splendor of being you! This social statement will surely prove your superiority among the commoners.
Make this project with littleBits. littleBits is the easiest and most extensive way to learn and prototype with electronics. We are making hardware limitless with our award-winning, ever-growing library of electronic modules, ranging from the very simple (power, sensors, LED) to the very complex (wireless, programmable). This project uses the littleBits cloudBitTM. The cloudBit lets you connect any device to the internet, turning any object into an internet connected device in a snap – no soldering, wiring or programming required. Instructions for setting up the cloudBit can be found here.
How it works:
This project is set up to trigger a servo every time the cloudBit receives a pulse though IFTTT’s Instagram channel. When triggered, the servo pulls down on a hose connected to the nozzle of a helium tank, releasing helium into a balloon. Any time a user hashtags a name of your choosing, a trigger is sent to IFTTT, which in turn sends an output signal to the cloudBit. Bask in your glory and float on!
Files you will need:
⅛” Masonite or Plywood
Small Bungee Cord
4 Machine Screws and Nuts - either M3 x 12mm or #4 x .5”
Step 1: Set Up Your CloudBit
Step 2: Prepare the Tilt Valve
Unscrew the tilt valve from the tank. Carefully cut the black rubber nozzle off of the valve. Cut a piece of the 5/32” tube so it’s 5 inches long and glue the tube to the metal rod of the tilt valve. Slide the valve puller (A-1) over the 5/8” silicone tube and pull it about 6” down the tube. Slide the tube over the tilt valve and either glue or hose clamp it in place.
Step 3: Add the LittleBits to the Board
Slide the Servo Motor into the servo mount, then screw the servo mount to the board using the two #4 machine screws and nuts. Assemble the rest of the circuit and stick it to the board with adhesive shoes (see circuit diagram). Secure the board to the tank with a small bungee cord.
Step 4: Set Up the Servo Mechanism
Plug the servo into a power module so the servo will go to its 0% power position and hold there. Attach the swing arm (A-2) to the servo motor so the arm is pointing down toward the tilt valve. Secure the swing arm with a screw and washer. Connect the valve puller (A-1) to the swing arm (A-2) using a #4 machine screw and nut. Adjust the position of the valve puller and the board so that the hose is not touching the tube on the tilt valve (otherwise the valve may release helium even when the servo is not activated).
Step 5: Assemble the Balloon Stand
Insert the free end of the silicone tube through the hole in plate B-2, then insert the 90 degree barbed tube elbow into the end of the hose. Push the other end of the elbow through the hole in plate B-1, then secure the tube in place with the hose bracket (3-D file included with these instructions). Add a little glue to the edges of each plate (B-1 through B-6) and press fit them together. You’ll want to use some masking tape or clamps to hold the plates together while the glue dries. Be sure to wipe away any excess glue that squeezes out when you press the plates together.
Step 6: Set Up Your IFTTT Recipe
Step 7: Watch Your Ego Inflate With Every Tag!
Sometimes the transfer from web to balloon takes a little while, but be patient... It will happen :)