08. Term Project Document: The Copy Cats [Molly Samuels]


The Copy Cats are cute desktop toys that copy your knocks. If you knock 2 times, they’ll tap, buzz, or spin 2 times. If you knock 3 times… you get the idea. The Copy Cats are: Mr. Tap (who taps back), Buzz (who buzzes back), and Spinner (who spins back). You can keep them on your desk for a cute distraction during long work sessions.

Description / How They Work

The Copy Cats are cute toys for kids and adults of all ages. They fit perfectly in any cubicle or home office. While they do not perform any useful function, they provide simple interactive entertainment.

Each Copy Cat moves with a different motor. Mr. Tap is controlled by a servo motor, Buzz is controlled by a pager motor, and Spinner is controlled by a tiny dc motor.

The Copy Cats are equipped with a piezo element that senses vibrations and sends the signal to the Arduino. When the Arduino receives a signal that is above the determined threshold (in my case it was 2), it begins counting the knocks in an array. The array also stores the amount of time between each knock. Once the Arduino has not received a knock signal for 1 second, it stops listening. It then repeats back the knocks by turning on the motors. For example, if it stored 4 knocks, it will turn the motors on and off 4 times (with the correct amount of delay in between). The pager and dc motors are simply turned on or off (HIGH/LOW), while the servo motor receives an angle value (145 for a left hand tap, and 40 for a right hand tap).

Schematic diagrams

Code: Molly_copycats.pde


  • Arduino
  • Small servo motor (like Hitec HS-55)
  • Toy DC motor (available here)
  • Vibration motor (available here)
  • Piezo vibration sensor (MiniSense 100)
  • 1-Megohm resistor (1)
  • Wire
  • Foam core/illustration board
  • Hot glue gun/glue
  • Felt
  • Yarn
  • Various paperclips/nails/pins/binderclips/beading wire
  • Needle & thread
  • Googly eyes

~ by mollysamuels on May 11, 2010.

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