Magic GIF Ball

This modern take on an old classic gives you random (???) advice with GIFs instead of text.

Jeremy Cook
2 months ago

You might remember the Magic 8-Ball toy from your childhood – and perhaps beyond – which responds to queries queries magically showing a text answer. While you might question the wisdom in taking advice from such an orb, if you were to sub in more modern animated images for non-moving wordy advice, would that be more suitable?

To find out, element14 Presents' DJ Harrigan created his own “Magic GIF Ball,” which detects shaking using a simple homemade vibration switch. It then displays its answer on a beautiful 1.3” 240x240 pixel IPS display. Computing power for the device is provided via a Raspberry Pi 3A+ that, although not as small as a Zero, is faster and a good form factor for this particular build. Power is supplied by an 1800 mHh Li-Ion battery, with a PowerBoost 1000 to increase the voltage to 5V. While this project is pushing the limits of the converter, the Pi isn’t doing anything too complicated, so the setup doesn't seem to cause any issues.

The whole thing is modeled in Fusion 360 and 3D-printed, with the power button integrated as the “.” in the “.gif” logo. It's quite a satisfying little project, and shaking to show GIFs seems to work out quite well. If you’d like to give it a try yourself, files are found on the project page.

Whether or not you should take it's potentially ambiguous life advice is another question altogether... maybe you could just ask it.

Jeremy Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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