Harry Potter's Spells

Coming up with our idea!
Here are some of the ideas we came up with before deciding on making a magic wand from the Harry Potter books.

George from “Curious George” going up and down a tree.
An interactive model of the solar system
An interactive Cookie Monster from Sesame Street
Animal from the Muppet
Various other Muppets/puppet animals (Grover, Oscar..)
The Family guy

We discussed a few of these in some detail, but immediately switched to HP when we thought of it.

After coming up with the Harry Potter idea, we decided to work with different spells that come up in the books. And since wands and objects responding to the wand are smaller, we decided to use crickets. We had hoped we could voice activate our wand and since the crickets can beam out or receive infrared light it worked well for our purpose.

Set up!
Initially, we wanted some sort of a tent to work with or even two ladders with sheets over it to create the magical atmosphere. When trying to do our levitation spells, a tent could have masked the string a bit more too. But, fire safety became an issue, so we had to abandon the idea.

Spells, Spells, and more Spells!
We needed to narrow down our options because there are so many spells in HP. First, we went online and found a complete list of all the spells from HP. Some obviously would’ve been impossible to do, but here are some that we considered:

Accio – summons an object
Alohomora – door unlocking spell
Engorgio – swelling charm
Incendio – fire-lighting curse
Lumos – emits a ray of light from your wand
Nox – stops the light created by Lumos
Mobiliarbus – moves objects
Reducio – reducing charm
Tarantallogra – dancing spell
Wingardium leviosa – spell to make things levitate

Then we had thought about what objects we can enchant. These are what we thought of:
Book for wingardium leviosa? (but we thought a binder might be better since it’s lighter)
Hat for mobiliarbus
Glove for wingardium leviosa
Chair for mobiliarbus
???? for taratallegra
Lumos and Nox with light in wand

These are commonplace objects (except for the wand) and that is why they appealed to us. We really liked the dancing idea but couldn’t think of what to make dance. As for all the other objects, they seemed very compatible with the spells we assigned.

Materials and Supplies We Needed!
Notebook or card boards to make a “book”
Pens, paper to decorate
2 ladders (from maintanence)? for the tent (?)
Sheets (3 or 4)?
Clear string, beading thread? (for levitation)
Thick poster board/thin plywood for table

Cricket Equipment Needed
5 to 6 crickets (1 for wand and 1 for each object)
6 motors (1 for each object except chair, which needs 2)
sound sensor

Using a Sound Sensor!
We were so happy to hear we can use the sound sensor after talking to Robbie because that would enable us to use voice commands with the wand. He initially gave us the idea that we might be able to program it to respond to a certain number of syllables.

While playing around with the sound sensor, we found the ambient noise in the classroom to consistently be 6 to 7. And our voices at a command like volume was 12 to 17. We then began to try to write a program using edge detection that would register our commands using the number of times volume went over 15.

Command Syllables
Nox – 1
Lumos – 2
Mobiliarbus – 5
Tarantalegra – 5
Wingardium Leviosa – 8

Having the sound sensor detect the number syllables proved more difficult than we initially thought because the number of times that the sensor detected as going over 15 was not consistent. So, as an option, we thought that we can write code to respond to series of light flashes and put flashlight in wand.

Then! With some help, we discovered we can just have the crickets detect how long a certain volume lasted. The timer would start when a certain volume was reached and stop when the volume goes back down, and depending on the length, the cricket would send out different infrared beams.

These are the codes we used for the wand:

These are the codes we used for the objects:

For the final project, we ended up using three spells: Wingardium leviosa, mobiliarbus, and lumos.

We used three objects: book, hat, and glove.

Hat in detail: we had a mini car underneath to make it seem like the hat is moving.

Book and Glove in detail: we had strings attached to them that went from the objects to the top where the pully redirected the string to the underneath the table where the motor was.

crickets at the edge of the board received the IR beams from the wand.


motors underneath.


pully at top.



Our wand had the cricket at the end that pointed away and the sound sensor at the handle end of it.




sound sensor end.


Final Presentation!

And this is how all looked at the end.