Smile for a Catapult-Launched Marshmallow

It’s easy to get down with all the bad things going on in the world, repeated to us endlessly by local and national news outlets. On the…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago

It’s easy to get down with all the bad things going on in the world, repeated to us endlessly by local and national news outlets. On the other hand, we have a lot to smile about, such as, ahem… the fact that you have access to over 13,000 projects and half a million fellow developers on Hackster! I digress, but if you need a more tangible reason to give the world a good smile, then this “Smile Activated Marshmallow Launcher” (or SAML) by Ben Brabyn and family looks like just the thing.

It uses a webcam and a Raspberry Pi running OpenCV to recognize when the person in front of it is smiling, and activates a motor via the Pi’s GPIO pins in response. This physical output is then used to actuate a broken catapult toy, held together with ubiquitous hacker materials like duct tape and coat hanger wire.

Your toy setup will certainly be different, but the programming outlined here could be employed to actuate all kind of reward devices. Perhaps this could be a fan that cools you off when you’re happy, or a pump that waters your plants to perk them up along with your mood!

You can see the system described and demonstrated in the video below. If you’d like to know more about the underlying smile detection routine on which the launcher software is based, more info is available here.

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