I F*CKING love 8-Balls! They’re awesome little desktop oracles that make decisions easier. However, I thought their selection of phrases left a little to be desired, so I wanted to do a project to augment this timeless toy with a digital screen. But what could I get it to display? While putting together the project, the webcomic XKCD posted a comic with an emoji-8-Ball that generated random emoji combination in browser.
Using a little bit of Canvas and the source from the original webcomic, I made my own emoji 8-ball fortune generator formatted for a tiny OLED screen fit inside an 8 ball. The screen has it’s own micro-controller and GPIO pins, which made it pretty simple to attach a tilt sensor (salvaged from an old Furby toy), as well as a battery pack that all fits inside a hemisphere of the original toy.
When the ball is face-down, it randomly cycles though emoji pairs, and stops when it’s tilted up. I sliced open the original blue liquid container in the ball, and replaced the plastic window to make it look unmodified. The mysterious fortunes it provides are open to interpretation.
The Emoji 8-Ball prop was build by Widget and debuted at NYCResistor’s 2015 Interactive show.