Amazon Alexa Dresses as Talking Skull for Halloween

first_img McDonald’s Plans to Serve AI Voice Technology at Drive ThruCIMON Returns to Earth After 14 Months on ISS “Alexa, are you going to haunt my dreams?”One enterprising Amazon Alexa user has turned the virtual assistant into a year-round Halloween horror.A self-described aspiring roboticist and spooky stylist, YouTuber ViennaMike repurposed the three-axis talking skull his wife gifted him into something altogether creepy.“A friend suggested that there had to be other [talking skull] applications for the rest of the year,” he wrote in a recent blog post. “This got me thinking, and when I saw the Alexa Billy Bass I knew what I had to do, and the Yorick project was born.”Named for the dead court jester whose skull is exhumed by a gravedigger in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the unsettling decoration serves as a mouthpiece for Alexa.Ask for the weather, for instance, and the bug-eyed cranium will report that, in Virginia, “it’s 41 degrees with clear skies and sun.”The project, as detailed online, requires a talking skull (duh), a Raspberry Pi, and the AlexaPi software for turning the single-board computer into an Alexa client device. You’ll also need servomechanism controllers to adjust audio and skull movements.“The one key tip is to slow down the servos in order to look more realistic,” according to ViennaMike, who set the speed and acceleration of his Maestro software to 20, leaving the jaw untouched so it can quickly respond to changing audio.For the finishing touches, the designer hid his hardware in a box, then covered the threaded rod supporting the skull with PVC pipe, which he painted black for continuity.ViennaMike has been playing around with his three-axis skull for a while: In May, he posted a video of the ornament “singing” along to “King Tut” by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons.Check out his YouTube channel for more glimpses into this year’s Halloween props. And watch the video below for “more from Yorick.” Stay on targetlast_img read more

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DW News Kickstart SciFi Museum BBC Confirms Female Script Writers

first_imgStay on target Since last year’s closure of the Doctor Who Experience, the UK—and the world—has been without a Whovian haven.Until now. (Er … this autumn. Probably.)Neil Cole is constructing a permanent museum “of dreams and the imagination,” a gallery brimming with original movie and TV props, costumes, and published artwork.The building will consist of two sections: One chronicling the broader science-fiction genre, and the other a visual history of classic Doctor Who.Visitors can browse one of the UK’s largest collections of surviving original screen-used items, arranged as an “episode guide”—starting with William Hartnell’s First Doctor.But opening a museum to the public “is quite an undertaking for an individual,” according to Cole. While he has already made “considerable” repairs on the Georgian townhouse, he needs some extra cash to complete the task.Visit The Museum of Classic Science-Fiction’s Kickstarter page to contribute; with 23 days left in his campaign, Cole has surpassed his goal of £5,000 (£6,900).1979 ‘Doctor Who’ BBC scripts for ‘Shada’ by Douglas Adams (via Rogers Jones & Co)I wonder if Cole will put an offer in for the set of rare “Shada” scripts, up for sale today via Welsh auction house Rogers Jones & Co.The Fourth Doctor adventure, written by Douglas Adams, was meant to mark the end of the classic program’s 17th series. But union strikes interrupted shooting, leaving only fragments of a fable.The scripts, estimated at £200 to £400 ($277 to $554), are inscribed in pencil with notes from credited director Pennant Roberts. His widow, Betsan Roberts, donated the lot on behalf of Welsh housing and homelessness charity Shelter Cymru.Jodie Whittaker IS the Doctor (via BBC)All this excitement over the classic program, however, has me itching for Jodie Whittaker’s return later this year.Repping half of the human race as the first female Doctor, Whittaker will reportedly be joined this season by a handful of women writers.In response to a letter from 70-plus female TV writers critical of their lack of primetime opportunities, BBC1 drama head Piers Wenger confirmed that “a number” of scripts for the 11th series have been penned by ladies.“Having a diverse team on [Doctor Who] feels appropriate, important, and essential,” he said.No writers—male or female—have yet been named for the new series. But you can expect a slew of fresh faces as incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall preps for his debut series.Matt Smith talks ‘Doctor Who’ on Desert Island Discs (via BBC Radio 4)Doctor Who isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, though. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith recently admitted he’d never seen an episode before auditioning for the lead role.“Not one. Not one episode in my whole life,” Smith revealed on BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs. “Look, Doctor Who‘s on at seven o’clock on a Saturday night,” he told execs during his tryout. “I’m in a boozer then.”Now it’s hard to imagine anyone but The Crown actor co-piloting the TARDIS alongside Amy Pond, Rory Williams, and River Song. But Smith did have a “wobble” before taking the part, which he called “the greatest … of my life.”“I loved every minute of it,” he added.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster last_img read more

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