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invention

Wizarding Wands

by timothy.high

Published on December 17, 2014

Use an interactive Harry Potter wand (from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios) - or a regular TV remote control - to make your own littleBits magic!

Note: The exact spells implemented are up to you, and up to 3 can be done at a time using an optional Arduino. Many take advantage of my home-made "Wire for External Electronics", which is a personal substitute for the prototype bit.

For those interested in having a look under the hood, or even in customizing their own version of the wand recognition software, check out the code on Github: https://github.com/bigokro/wiiwandz

Now working with all 16 spells from the Wizarding World park!
  • Aguamenti: Spray water
  • Alohomora: Unlock something
  • Arresto Momentum: Make something stop moving
  • Ascendio: Make something rise
  • Descendo: Make something fall
  • Herbivicus: Make a plant grow
  • Incendio: Light a fire or turn on lights
  • Locomotor: Make something spin
  • Metelojinx: Make it rain
  • Mimblewimble: Make... shrunken heads sing??
  • Reparo: Fix something
  • Revelio: Make something hidden appear
  • Silencio: Make a noise stop
  • Specialis Revelio: Reveal something magical or in the stars
  • Tarantallegra: Make figures sing and dance
  • Wingardium Leviosa: Levitate an object
The software lets you pick up to 3 at a time, and choose the number of seconds each will be triggered.

The wand movements required for each are as shown on the maps that come with the interactive wand. If you don't have one, have a look at the picture on this project.

UPDATE: The software now works with IFTTT, too! You can configure each spell to work with the cloudBit, or give it an event name for an IFTTT Maker recipe. Give it a try!


Credits: Special thanks to @JackANDJude for all the great suggestions, especially the tip on using the Wiimote! Also thanks to the creators of the WiimoteLib for Windows, which was used as the basis for the Wii interface for this project.

How To Make It

STEP 1 :

Connect your cloudBit to a power source and wi-fi

STEP 2 :

Connect an LED to the cloudBit, and a Sound Trigger to the LED. Optionally, you can use a wire to provide some flexibility in where you place things. The Sound Trigger should be tuned to maximum sensitivity, and pointed towards wherever you wand to stand when using your wand. The LED isn't meant to be part of the display, but rather to serve as an indicator that the cloudBit is activated - that way you can tell when to say the magic words!

STEP 3 :

Connect the sound trigger to whatever output you want. In the example, I am using a home-made external wire to connect to some Christmas lights (see the link in the main description), but anything is valid! Note that the project currently works for the wand movements for Incendio (turn on a light), Locomotor (make something rotate), or Aguamenti (spray some water!). Let the magic - and your imagination - flow!

STEP 4 :

Download the software attached to this project. It's built for PC only (sorry, it's what I could get working!), and requires Bluetooth. Unzip the files to a folder of your choice.

STEP 5 :

Pair your Wiimote with the PC: 1) Open up the Devices and Printers menu in the Control Panel. 2) Select "Add a Device". 3) Press the 1 and 2 buttons simultaneously. The Wiimote should appear. 4) Select the Wiimote and press next. Continue holding the two buttons throughout this process. 5) Choose "Pair without using a code" (while still pressing the buttons. 6) Wait until it reports that the device was successfully paired. 7) If the lights on the Wiimote go out, press the two buttons again. 8) Wait still more until it reports that a new HID device was added.  Note: If the program reports that there were no HID devices found even after pairing, remove the Nintendo device from the devices panel and start all over. Also, if you restart the computer, you will need to remove the pairing and start all over again.

STEP 6 :

Start the software by double-clicking on the WiiWandz.exe file. It will open the WiiWandz control panel, which shows input data from the Wiimote, as well as what you are doing with your wand. Note: If it reports that no HID device was found on the list, you will have to try to pair again.

STEP 7 :

Go to the cloudBit control panel (http://control.littlebitscloud.cc). Click on the Settings tab for your cloudBit, and scroll to the bottom. Copy and paste the Device ID and Access Token into the control panel for the Wiimote. Choose which spells you want to cast in the combo boxes, the number of seconds for each, and the voltage % the cloudBit will receive. 

STEP 8 :

Optional: If you have an Arduino board, you can upload the code on this project. Connect the Arduino to the cloudBit. You can then set up 3 different spells to be triggered. In this case, you should choose one spell to be 25% voltage to trigger the first Arduino output, 50% for the second, and 75% for the third.

STEP 9 :

If you want to use a real Harry Potter Interactive Wand, you should set up your IR LED array. The ideal setup is to use the wide, flat IR emitter that comes with the Wii. That has the right frequency, and enough strength, for you to be able to wave the wand from a few feet away.

Alternately, you can use your own IR array, like the one on the on the security camer pictured above. The brighter the array you have, the better, and frequency also apparently matters. Using the 10-LED array shown in the pictures hasn't worked very well for me, so I'm sticking with the Wii devices.

You want the array to point in the same direction as the Wiimote, so that it is easy for the light to reflect off the tip of the wand. 

If you don't have a Harry Potter wand, or just want to make it easier while testing, you can use a simple remote control for your wand, no other IR source necessary! If you can, use one that has a single bulb; the WiimoteLib can track up to 4 points, and this can cause random point reads in the Wiimote. If all your remotes have multiple bulbs, try covering all but one of them up.

If all else fails, I've found that using the Wiimote as the wand, and just pointing at a normal lightbulb works! But note that left/right and up/down will be reversed.

STEP 10 :

Point the wand at the Wiimote and start waiving! You should see your strokes appearing on the software control panel. If you complete the movements for a spell, the software will show what spell is being cast!

Try to make your movements as clean as possible. For best results, hold the wand still until the "trail" is gone, then do the movement, then hold it still when you have completed it.

STEP 11 :

Once a spell is triggered, check the LED to make sure it got the signal. Then say the magic words: "Incendio!" (or whatever spell you chose) If all goes well, your magic spell will be a success!

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