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Magical office gadget encourages coworkers to solve problems

Arduino TeamJuly 31st, 2023

Whether it’s budget issues, lack of time management, or simply not having any ideas for solving the issue at hand, dealing with coworkers who bring up these problems is a pet peeve of element14 Presents host Mark Donners. In response, he built a simple wall-mounted ornament consisting of a series of magic wands that prods coworkers to think first in a tongue-in-cheek way.

The holder itself was inspired by a scroll-shaped wand holder, and Donners was able to recreate it by sculpting clay around a bent sheet of metal, adding some wand-holding eye hooks, and painting the entire thing a parchment color. For the electronics, Donners designed a custom PCB that works with an Arduino Nano to emit sounds from an MP3 module, adjust the backlighting behind the scroll, and even shut itself off after a present amount of time via a clever power delivery circuit. A total of four audio recordings were taken and subsequently loaded onto a microSD card which tell the user to, among other things, pick up a wand and wish for their budget/workforce increase request to be granted.

On the programming side, the Nano starts by initializing the SD card, beginning a rainbow animation on the LED strip, and randomly selecting one of the sound files. From here, the sound plays until the timer expires, at which point the whole system shuts off. To see more about how Donners made this project, be sure to watch his video below!