With Halloween just around the corner, makers all over the world are trying to figure out ways of combining electronics with pumpkins. The crew from Gurgle Apps - a family-run coding shop - have a fantastic Raspberry Pi Pico-based solution that’ll terrify trick-or-treaters with a jack-o-lantern’s mysterious flashing eyes.
Gurgle Apps are no strangers to the best Raspberry Pi projects. We've featured them before, showing us how to play Pong on a Pico and on the Pi Cast. The MicroPython code they’re using, available on the Gurgle Apps website, was written with the Pico in mind but should run on any RP2040 board.
Each eye is made up of a MAX7219 8x8 LED matrix, commonly found in call center status boards. The Gurgle team has a handy online tool for designing your own 8x8 sprites and the corresponding hex values you’ll need to incorporate them into your Python code. Animations are stored in a JSON file, and can be completely edited too.
All the code and a parts list can be found on the Gurgle Apps website, and there are some wonderful whiteboard-based wiring diagrams in the video above.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.