Arduino Powers Barbie's Screamhouse

Wicked Makers Barbie Screamhouse
(Image credit: Wicked Makers)

Barbie typically lives in a perfect world, but according to a blog post on the official Arduino site, the Arduino Uno R4 WiFi can be used to make nightmares. Wicked Makers performed a cabin in the woods makeover for Barbie's Dreamhouse. The makeover includes a summoning ring, ghostly videos, and a miniature fog machine.

The Arduino Uno R4 WiFi is the heart of this ghostly build. Barbie's Screamhouse uses LED filament and small LEDs. All the wiring is routed to the rear of the house and a breadboard is used as a distribution panel and interface for the Arduino's GPIO.

LED filament is a remarkably vibrant component to work with. Rather than a focused point of light, we get a continuous length of LED light, similar to neon in appearance. Inside the filament are a chain of LEDs that get treated just like a typical LED. The filament is used here to make summoning circles and add dramatic lighting to the scene.

Individual LEDs are inserted into a series of SLA 3D-printed skull lighting fixtures, but you'll need one of the best resin 3D printers to get this level of detail. A 3D-printed chandelier uses twisted sections of LEDs to produce an elegant if creepy ambience. If you're an FDM 3D printer fan, the team has a TV set printed on a Bambu Labs printer. This old-fashioned TV set has a distinct The Ring vibe to it.

Barbie's Dreamhouse was torn apart, and all the fixtures and fittings were removed and later repainted for a more demonic purpose. A Dremel tool was used to cut away old plastic and make space for new electronics.

To add some interactivity to the model, an iPad and iPad Mini were used to play scary videos where the windows used to be. They look very effective and provide a little more fear factor to Barbie's already scary-good home.

We do love projects that take old toys and electronics and make them into something extra fun. The team used an Arduino Uno R4 WiFi, but they could also use a Raspberry Pi Pico W or a Raspberry Pi 5. The latter would be able to play the spooky videos via its dual micro HDMI outputs.

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".