A 1950s radio signal generator converted to a classic sci-fi movie inspired plaything.
I watched all the old science fiction movies from the 1920s-1970s when I was growing up. I found this radio signal generator in a surplus shop and it reminded me of a prop you see in the classic B movies from the 50s and 60s. So I decided to make it work like it would have if the sci-fi was true.
It's really a big pick-and-pull toy. In other words, you flip the switches and turn the knobs and things happen--lights light, sound effects play, spooky monsters and aliens appear, dials jump. It uses 2 Raspberry Pi's for the videos, 2 Arduinos for the lighting effects, and a sound player card for the audio. It's about play and having fun, nothing more or less.
I learned that equipment built-in 1958 to be used and serviced by 18-year-olds on military installations and ships is _really_ sturdy. However, it is not quite sturdy enough to hold up to a weekend of free-for-all-access by kids at Maker Faires. Plus, no one over 12 can find the hidden peephole.
It makes people happy and gets them excited about the possibilities of participating in a past that never was.