Down the rabbit hole, again…


I have always been a great fan of Marco Vichi’s novels. The main character, commissario Bordelli, is intriguing. In one of the last novels, Dr. Diotivede, a pathologist, gives a human skull to Bordelli as a Christmas gift. The skull is then named Geremia and lives in commissario Bordelli’s kitchen. Ok, a little bit weird, I agree.

I could not resist doing the same, so I headed to Amazon and treated myself to a full-sized skull to keep on my desk as a headphone holder. Same name, Geremia.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at Geremia and said to him, “Hey, you look dead. We should do something about that.”

Since we are in 2023, adding a couple of LEDs for his eyes, an mp3 player to make him speak, and a servo motor to make his jaw move according to the audio file played would be easy. I played a bit with Arduino in the past, which would be the perfect choice for this kind of project. I reached into my drawers and took out everything I already had. I used to design the electronic circuit and wrote a state machine on Arduino Sketchin to make Geremia talk with my PC over a serial port. The idea is to use Geremia for notifications.

And then it started. The circuit worked perfectly on the simulator, but I was missing a voltage regulator, a few capacitors and resistors, a good servo powerful enough to move the jaw, and a prototyping board… It started. I have spent too much money on Amazon in the past few weeks to gather all the needed pieces. Now the prototype is sitting on my desk, working.

I will transfer the prototype to an Arduino Proto Board in the next few days. But, wait, I do not have a soldering station… buy one… Well, you get the point; I could not stop.

In the meantime, I browsed YouTube to get some knowledge of electronics. I found a guy who built a 4 bit computer completely on breadboards. I already know which is going to be my next personal project. For the time being, I am having fun reading “Digital Computer Electronics,” which talks just about that.

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