Heads Up!


A DIY speaker box hack for the pranking bunch of makers. Inside the speaker box hides a foam disc gun activated through twitter.


Project Type 
Product Design | Electronics | Video Storytelling

Louis Elwood-Leach (film)

MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts
Guidance from Becky Stern
Fall 2016

Project Details

Heads Up! is a blend of mechanical and electrical making. The foam disc gun shoots as a servo motor connected to a steel wire pulls the trigger. The servo motor is activated based on a wifi connected Arduino board, and in this case triggered by twitter.


The project all began from a brainstorm session, creating ideas based on an online random phrase generator. “Heads Up!" popped up in the random phrases and I was unable to resist making a prank. 


First, the trigger of the gun is pulled, then, after a second delay, shouts “Heads Up!” Most users do not enjoy this order of operations as they get shot without any warning (duh). But that is the beauty of Heads Up!, a prank within a prank. You never know what to expect from Heads Up! 


Heads Up! is also adaptable to different inputs because it utilizes the If This Then That (IFTTT) service. IFTTT establishes internet based triggers which send a signal to the Wifi connected Arduino board inside the enclosure. For example, IFTTT can send a trigger based on Twitter, Gmail, text messages, calendar, etc.. The list goes on and allows for wide variation of usage. 


Detailed instructions and process details to make your own can be found on Instructables.


The biggest challenge of the project was enabling the servo motor to pull the trigger of the foam disc gun.  The servo required a 5V input to create enough torque and pull the trigger, which required a re-wiring (and whacky) circuit board. After everything was finally in position, the servo suddenly was unable to pull the trigger with the steel wire. Through rounds of trial and error, cutting new steel wire and repositioning several times, it finally began working again. Plan for several mechanical problems and headaches if working on a mechanical project. 

Detailed instructions and process details to make your own can be found on Instructables.