The concept was actually derived from the likes of the Google Chrome icon… a metal sphere with an “eye” in the center. The pumpkinRobot won’t do anything super amazing and at first glance will seem to only have an eye with a pulsating internal light.  However, upon its detection of someone’s physical presence, it’s light will immediately turn flashing red as panels emerge from it’s sides with flashing LEDs.  After some time the panels will recede back into the form of the pumpkin and the internal light will return to its normal state.

2-3 Sentences about the most challenging and most interesting aspects of the project:
This has been difficult to build… and while I have built out the circuits for my RGB LEDs (the pulsating interior) and the panel LEDs… the other mechanics have been difficult. I’ve been testing with a button switch but plan on changing the trigger to a sensor once everything works.

The panel mechanism has been extremely challenging. At first I decided I would need servo motors to push and pull the panels into place… after talking with peers I decided a linear actuator (piston like screw pump) or a solenoid pump would be better since they operate in a single direction and would be easier to integrate into the pumpkin innards. Unfortuantely linear actuators start around $100 and the solenoid pump I picked up is too small to really do what I need it to. Thus, I am back to servo motors… and continuous ones at that, so I need to figure out how to map the range I need and find a way to engineer the push/pull mechanism. (YIKES).

The only other trouble I ran into was with the RGB light cycle.  While the cycle works fine… breaking out of it mid-cycle to switch into a flashing red display has been difficult and I’m still troubleshooting. Even by including break statements within the cycle code, I was only able to interfere at certain points but would not be able to kill the actual loop.  I hope to resolve this soon or I’ll just include a different mechanism.