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Emoji 8-Ball Prop

I F*CKING love 8-Balls! They’re awesome little desktop oracles that make decisions easier. However, I thought their selection of phrases left a little to be desired, so I wanted to do a project to augment this timeless toy with a digital screen. But what could I get it to display? While putting together the project, the webcomic XKCD posted a comic with an emoji-8-Ball that generated random emoji combination in browser.


Using a little bit of Canvas and the source from the orginal webcomic, I made my own emoji 8-ball fortune generator formatted for a tiny OLED screen fit inside an 8 ball. The screen has it’s own micro-controller and GPIO pins, which made it pretty simple to attach a tilt sensor (salvaged from an old Furby toy), as well as a battery pack that all fits inside a hemisphere of the original toy.


When the ball is face-down, it randomly cycles though emoji pairs, and stops when it’s tilted up. I sliced open the original blue liquid container in the ball, and replaced the plastic window to make it look unmodified. The mysterious fortunes it provides are open to interpretation.

The Emoji 8-Ball prop was build by Widget and debuted at NYCResistor’s 2015 Interactive show.

Presented at a PureData Focus Group

Puredata Focus Group: Makerbot Demo, with Chris DiMauro,

“Real-time” computer processing and “real world computing” are poised to (once again) revolutionize the role of computers everyday life. A new kind of robot, the RepRap, has been conceived as an affordable machine which can fabricate real-world objects, including the ability to fabricate its own parts. The state-of-the-art of “desktop manufacturing” today is reminiscent of “personal computing” in the 1970s. You’ll have a chance to experience the state-of-the-art hands-on at the next pd-interest meeting with a Makerbot demonstration and programming.

Demonstrating Makerbot is Chris “Widget” DiMauro, a research assistant for the Social Game Club at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, where he received a Masters Degree in Integrated Digital Technology, as well as a BS. Widget is a keen user of this open source software and has introduced the Makerbot to Boys and Girls Club members in Illinois and California, helping them create and print out whistles, 12-sided dice, and other custom-designed objects.

At the demonstration, we’ll also have a look at the computer “soul of the machine” and a glimpse of arduino/pduino, Puredata software applications, for the next meeting (date TBD) following Makerbot.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Gottesman Libraries and New Blankets, a non profit organization launched in 2008 by artists, scientists, researchers, parents and citizens at large. New Blankets seeks to re-invent the vision and role of free public libraries and cultural centers, utilizing new community development and collaborative technologies.

You may bring your own laptop and headphones, or use equipment provided by the Gottesman Libraries. If you are interested in attending, please e-mail in advance.

For an edlab snapshot of the demonstration be sure to look at Something Cool.

Where: 306 Russell