Magic Wand

Heidi Ferris, Susie Schroeder, Alex Thorn

Robotics 2000

 The concept behind this project was to create a "magic" wand that could activate different robots, to put on a "magic show." In the spirit of the magical tradition, we constructed a mechanism to make a rabbit pop out of a hat, and a Black Box that makes small objects disappear. A little less traditionally, we made a pinwheel that spins or stops spinning when the wand is pointed at it.


The wand and the robots all use crickets, tiny computers that were originally created by the MIT Media Lab. The link below gives more information on the workings of crickets.

Cricket Home Page at MIT Media Lab, more information on what crickets are, and how they work.

This is the wand itself. There is a cricket sandwiched between the silver stars, which continuously sends out infrared signals.


The program code for the cricket:

loop[send 1]

The code for the wand simply sets up a loop to send out an infrared signal. The effect is a nearly continuous (actually flickering) IR beam.

View of hat with rabbit in it from top. Rabbit pops up when wand is waved at the cricket wired to the mechanism inside. Click on the image to view its gear mechanism.


Front view of pinwheel. Cricket is hidden behind head of flower, and waving wand at cricket can start and stop rotation. Click on image for more details of mechanism.

Exterior view of the black box. There is a small door (not clearly visible in image) on the face of the box to the right in the picture. Small object can be placed on a platform through the doorway. When door is closed, and wand is waved at cricket (normally located on roof of box), object "disappears." For more details, click on image.