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Ideas for an interactive donation box? Answered

I need to create a donation box for a non-profit art center where I volunteer. The box needs to be interactive.  That is, inserting a paper bill through an opening in the box, triggers a fun toyetic response, preferably not audible. Maybe something spins, a light flashes, LEDs arranged to spell "Thank you" flash on and off, etc.  The box could have four or five different openings, each with its own interactive feature. I love to get ideas from the Instructables community  as well as input on toys or electronic devices that can be adapted for this.


Paper-bills eh? That's optimistic.
You could use an IR sensor, the sort of things Facsimile-machines, copiers and printers are stuffed with to track paper paths. Hook up to a microprocessor probably and output to (your output).
I have some paper-detectors I could post you, but I don't know how they work too well...


Electronics would be good, but you could also do a lot of cool interesting things with rube goldburg-esque features when visitors drop in coins.

Simply, you would use a 555 timer in monostable mode. (easily googled) This would allow the triggering switch (or optical sensor) to operate for a given time period after the money was inserted, and the switch was closed. -- You already have good ideas, the whirlygigs of artificial reciprocity that tell the donator that the box cares :)