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Arduino Strong-Hand (Scary Movie 2 Tribute)

“Take my little hand! It’s made from an Arduino!”

You may be familiar with CosPlay and the world of Comic-Con.  One of our members, Bill Byrd, helped a friend going to a Comic-Con convention by adding an Arduino system with motion and sound to a replica of Hanson’s hand from Scary Movie 2.

Bill was able to assist his friend with his Arduino programming and electronics experience, and they turned the Comic-Con idea into a functioning prop that is guaranteed to turn some heads.

This is hands down an awesome project to read about!

What did you build for this project?

For this project, I built an animated prop from the movie Scary Movie 2. The hand is meant to accompany a Hanson costume, and is an animated model of the character’s disfigured “strong hand”.

While my friend made the silicone hand and the functional skeleton for the hand, I helped him figure out the electronics required to produce motion and sound for the hand.

Why did you build an Arduino “strong hand”?

I have a friend who really enjoys CosPlay and the world of Comic-Con. In preparation for an upcoming Comic-Con convention, this friend wanted to build a prop inspired by the movie Scary Movie 2.

He wanted to put sound and motion to the prop, and knew that I had been spending time learning the basics of Arduino, so he invited me to collaborate with him.

How does your project work?

A series of linkages molded into the hand will move the finger when a cable is pulled. Sound tracks from the movie play while the finger is moving.

The finger will move simultaneously with an audio clip from the movie. This audio clip is a scene from the movie where Hanson pleads for another character to “take my hand!”. The other character, hanging from a ledge in this scene, might fall to his death, but is repulsed by the hand, and does not want to grab it.

Those devoted to CosPlay will recognize the device as Hanson’s “strong hand”.

What was your biggest struggle throughout this project?

My biggest struggle was learning about all of the servo code that was needed. I also had to learn how to get the sound tracks and speaker working together with a push of a button.

The sound files were obtained using two different software packages: Apowersoft Streaming Audio Recorder and Audacity.

Apowersoft allows you to lift the sound from a streaming YouTube video, while Audacity allows you to edit the file and cut out the parts of the audio that you do not want or need.

To get the sound to play, I used an Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board.

How does the motion of the hand work?

The motion is generated using a coupling of the Arduino nano and a servo motor. A Futaba micro servo is attached to the end of the hand and wired to the articulating finger joints.

Did the project end up as you expected?

It turned out even better than I expected! I even got a request from a national molding company (Smooth-On) to receive a final copy!

In return, they provided my friend with some products to use in future projects. My friend has earned some national recognition over the years and was given a prize for one of his creations a few years ago where the award was handed to him by two of the three cast members of Myth Busters.

Man with disfigured hand prop built with Arduino

Devin Martin as Hanson

What have you learned about programming during this process?

I learned to use different software programs in order to capture and edit the sound. I also learned that there is not much a difference between using a digital servo compared with an analog one (although we decided to use an analog servo).

Was the training at Programming Electronics Academy able to help you?

Most of the credit goes to my friend’s imagination and his problem solving skills. Programming Electronics Academy was also our bedrock source for everything to do with the programming and the selection of components.

I already knew how to cut a board for mounting the hand. Almost everything else was learned from PEA and YouTube.

What components are used in your project?

The hand used LEDs, a servo motor, a button, and a resistor

What type of Arduino did you use?

I used an Arduino nano

How do you power your project?

It’s powered using a wall power adapter and/or battery

Editor’s note:

Thanks for sharing your awesome project with us Bill – it’s sure to be one of the coolest costumes at the convention!

Check out Bill’s build-log website here to follow along with all of the steps that went into the creation of this project.

Feel free to also check out Bill’s Arduino code:

#include <Servo.h>
Servo hanson_hand;//provides motion to comic-con hand

int pos = 0;//postion of horn
byte button_pin = 3;
bool button_state = HIGH;

void setup()
{
  hanson_hand.attach(9);//pin D9 on Nano
  pinMode(button_pin, INPUT_PULLUP);
}//end setup

void loop()
{
  button_state = digitalRead(button_pin);
  if (button_state == LOW)
  {

    /*---wrote in enough iterations of the two following
      for-loops to coincide with the sound track". also used
      varying degrees (some 45, some more or less than 45) to
      make it seem more life-like.--*/

    for (pos = 0; pos <= 45; pos += 1)//0 to 45
    {
      hanson_hand.write(pos);//go to pos
      delay(15);//allow 15ms to get there
    }//end for #1

    for (pos = 45; pos <= 0; pos += 1)//45 to 0
    {
      hanson_hand.write(pos);
      delay(15);
    }//end for #2
  }//end if
}//end loop

About Bill

Bill is a retired respiratory therapist. Bill’s friend, who helped with the creation and inspiration for this project, is a physician’s assistant. Bill built his first HeathKit radio when he was only 14!

Bill: I was born in 1945. You do the math 🙂

Bill started programming in about 2012 when he and his grandson stumbled into a free sample of how-to learn HTML.

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