Monday, July 19, 2010

Ghost Reader 1

I plan on remaking the ghost reader prop for the Haunt Forum technical challenge. I cannot win a prize, and I don't expect to compete with the prop controllers and servos sure to be entered, but I thought it would be a lot of fun to extend on what can be done with a single small gear motor.

The original ghost reader can be seen below. It uses a Boris talk through skull hacked with a computer speaker, and a wood frame covered with chicken wire to support the cheese cloth. A wiper motor swings the porch swing.

I think I have the movement figured out. Using an A/C vent motor will give me 4 RPM, or 15 second cycles. The idea is to have the ghost look at the left page for 7.5 seconds, look at the right page for 7.5 seconds, look up and left while the left arm reaches over to the top right of the book for 7.5 seconds, and finally look right and up while the arm returns to its position at the upper left of the book for 7.5 seconds.

For the arm movement I am going to try attaching one end of the arm to a pivot, with a plate moving back and forth to give the arm the reaching motion. The figure below shows the arm movement from the top, and from the back. Notice how as the plate approaches the center, the distance from the pivot to the plate shortens, causing the end of the arm (the hand) to raise up some as it swings past the center. You may need to click on the image for the animation to work.

animated arm

The second part of the movement was to figure out how to move the arm every other cycle. I came up with the contraption pictured below which will hopefully work.

2 in 1

More to come....


  1. You have some excellent mechanical skills, I have been following your ideas. It's been a great inspiration.

    I really like the 'do more with less' approach you have!

  2. Thanks Gregory. What are some things that you have built?

  3. I have recently been working on some simple wind operated 'props' to make different noises... Going for a creepy atmosphere.

    Your wall ghost has had my daughter and I talking about something similar, but not exactly the same movements. That is only on the drawing board right now.

  4. I would love to see (and hear) your wind devices! And let me know how the ghost turns out.