Huffpost Technology

Hauntbox Microcontroller: Motion-Triggered Automation And Sound Without Programming (VIDEO)

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In May, HuffPost Tech spotlighted MaKey MaKey, a multi-channel interface that allows users to make controllers out of unorthodox objects like bananas and Play-Doh.

Hauntbox, a Kickstarter project by Salt Lake City-based Aylr, has a similar premise and offers other advantages of particular interest to makers who want to craft interactive environments.

As its Kickstarter video explains, Hauntbox is a "browser configured, sensor actuated, open source Arduino-compatible prop controller and automation machine."

In English, this means users can easily control a lot of cool stuff with it, all without any programming.

Instead of using alligator clips like MaKey MaKey, the box makes use of motion sensors and stomp boxes that can trigger light, sound and Arduino-driven motor effects.

The simple interface software included with the Hauntbox allows users highly customizable control of up to 6 inputs and 6 outputs without the doing any technical heavy lifting. And the software's streamlined sound queuing function is also particularly worry-free.

Aylr also plans to release the product's source code for the creative benefit of advanced users.

The Hauntbox, as its name implies, is of special appeal for those looking to make their own haunted houses, and the project's Kickstarter video has plenty of examples of such use. But web programmer Taylor Miller, one of the creators of Hauntbox, holds that the device has applications for live performances, small-budget films and interactive art as well.

"We hope the technology of the Hauntbox will enable people's creativity and bring the power of difficult micro-controller programming down to a level where the layman can harness it," Miller wrote in an e-mail to The Huffington Post.

The only drawback to the project, which had met about 15 percent of its $13,000 goal as of press time, is its price. While support pledges start at $10, a pledge of at least $149 is required of anyone looking to get their hands on a "bare bones" Hauntbox -- and that doesn't include a power supply. A full "starter kit" is available at the $349 pledge level.

Although its software and control capabilities could lure users with a concrete premise in mind, the gadget's relatively steep price could have a chilling effect on junior makers.

By comparison, MaKey MaKey, which was fully funded on Kickstarter, now retails for about $40.

 
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