Christmas Card 2008

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Thought Process

The idea behind this project has been batting itself back and forth in my head and first began to materialize as a presentation for a class in the Multimedia Professional Program-Interactive Producer at Portland State University.

User Interface

Christmas Card

Inside each card sent will be a URL and a seven digit code, unique to each recipient. The idea is that the recipients will:

  1. Go to the URL through their web browser
  2. Enter the seven digit code
  3. Activate the physical element

Web Page

Christmas Card 2008 Website.png


  • Header
  • Webcam Feed (480 pixels by 320 pixels)
  • Form


My Sony DV camera can be used to supply the webcam feed. I will use EvoCam to serve up the webcam feed.

Audio Streaming

The one thing EvoCam cannot do is stream live audio. At first, I didn't think this was important. I would just embed the audio clip into the web page, which would be played after the user hit the submit button. However, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that the motion of the ringing of the bell was not much of a visual cue. In addition to the visual cue of motion, I would need the audio cue also.

Explore Nicecast as a possible solution.

Backend Processes


Physical Interface

MAKE Controller Kit

Custom Firmware

The MAKE Controller Kit should do the following:

  1. Utilizing the Web Server library, serve up a web page which will act as the user interface to activate the desire action (i.e. the user presses a button on a web page and the bell is rung and the audio clip is played).
  2. Utilizing the Motor library, turn on the vibrating motor after the user has pressed a button on the web page.

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree


While at Surplus Gizmos, I found a small vibrating motor, the kind used in your mobile phone for vibrate mode. The motor is small enough to be attached to the branch the bell will be hanging off of, which should shake the branch enough to ring the bell.

From Surplus Gizmos, I picked up four (4) stepper motors:

  • Two (2) Haydon Switch and Instrument Stepper Motors 20841-05-066
  • Two (2) Astrosyn/Minebea Stepper Motors 17PM-K310-P1V

Santa's Sleigh Bell

The bell will hang from the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and ring when the tree is shaken.

I think Jill has one of the small bells from our wedding day stashed somewhere. It would be nice to use this artifact for our bell.

Another Christmas icon I stumbled upon was Santa's sleigh bell from The Polar Express. This would make a great bell for our project. I found a Wisconsin company that manufactures custom sleigh bells and will order one or two soon:

  • Polar Express Bell (Large - 1-13/16)
  • #15 Chrome Believer Bell with Gold Lamee Bag (X-Large - 2-7/8")


Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.

George Bailey: That's right. That's right. Atta boy, Clarence.

from the movie, It's A Wonderful Life


LED Display

Due to time and resources, this won't be able to be done.