This useless box has lights, sounds, and a real attitude
November 11th, 2020—
You’ve probably seen an example of the “useless box,” or “useless machine,” which when switched on does nothing except open up to turn itself back off again. This one by creator Alex Pikkert adds a few new tricks, giving it a bit of a mood, and not one but two switches and fingers!
When switched on, the device uses a micro servo to open the box. The correct finger then extends under the power of one of the other two servos to turn the particular switch you flipped off again.
To help give it “attitude,” the Arduino Uno-controlled unit employs a pair of ID1820 sound boards that let it squawk out giggles and other noises as it seems to become increasingly annoyed over time. Tri-color LEDs can also flash angrily next to the switches, and there’s an as-yet unused passive infrared sensor, potentially usable for further automated hijinks.