Delight your Trick-or-Treaters with a remote-operated candy machine that talks or texts back
For neighborhoods welcoming Trick-or-Treaters, Halloween is hitting a little different this year. Not only do we need to create a spooktacular candy distribution experience, but we need to do so while still standing 6+ feet away.
If you're looking for a higher tech solution than throwing candy at your neighbors, you could try Candybot: a voice-interactive, remote-operated, candy-dispensing robot. Candybot auto-vomits candy on command or in response to the words "Trick or Treat."
Candybot can work via sound or text. It can relay the sound of the Trick-or-Treaters to an operator inside the house, and lets the operator pick spooky noises from the sound board to respond to questions and shouts of “Trick-or-Treat!” And of course, there’s a button to tell Candybot to barf out comically large portions of candy.
The operator interface for Candybot
Candybot can also auto-detect the words “Trick or Treat” using IBM Watson:
Or respond to text messages with candy and spooky GIFs:
Candybot is built with Twilio, using a Twilio phone call for audio and Twilio Electric Imp to set off a candy-pushing-arm with a toilet paper fist. The system was created by Ankur Kumar, Ankit Gupta, Patrick Hundal, and Richard Bakare last week during a hackathon.
Candybot’s powerful candy-pushing arm is actually a simple linear actuator set off by a relay, controlled by Twilio Electric Imp.
Though initially intended for candy distribution purposes, Ankur Kumar and his team say the technology that underlies Candybot can be used for other use-cases, like remote pet care or touchless retail.
“When it comes to the practical applications of Candybot, you quickly realize that the combination of Twilio’s communication tools with the tangible reach of an Electric Imp gives us vast opportunities to automate the physical world, complemented with rich, two-way communication,” said Patrick Hundal.
The team behind Candybot says they’d love to share their creation with the world, so they authored a blog post and put Candybot up on GitHub. You can build your own and add new features, like spookier sounds, AI-recognized phrases, and Twilio-powered ways for kids to talk to the robot, like WhatsApp and video.
If you’re interested in the broader IoT applications of Candybot-like interfaces, Twilio has a helpful video session on IoT in retail solutions during COVID. And if you want to see Candybot (and its less-useful cousin) in action, check out the video below.
Christine Sunu, creator of strange and beautiful internet-connected objects, is the IoT Developer Community Engagement Manager at Twilio. Find Christine on Twitter (@christinesunu), read more of her posts here, and watch her on the TwilioDevs YouTube channel