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 (opens in new tab) - a family-run coding shop - have a fantastic Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab)-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 (opens in new tab) and on the Pi Cast (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab).
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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) can be found on the Gurgle Apps website, and there are some wonderful whiteboard-based wiring diagrams in the video above.