What can be better than candy? Automated candy!
We normally get lots of kids trick or treating on our street. It's usually lots of fun to give out candy and see all the costumes. One year, we even ran out of candy (rookie mistake) and had to run to a nearby grocery store to get more last minute.
Sometime over the summer after COVID started, I realized that Halloween wouldn't be the same this year, and that was even before trick or treating was banned by the city and CDC. But I didn't want to totally kill all the fun of Halloween. So I came up with the crazy idea of building an automated candy dispenser. Even if it didn't work, it would be an opportunity for me to learn about Arduino and Alexa, a couple technologies I was interested in.
Apparently several other people had a similar idea and built their own contraptions all over the country.
Some people have asked to go through my engineering process and design, so I'll do a series of blog posts about that so others can learn. I certainly benefitted from the "prior art" out there and hope this can benefit future candy dispenser designers.
Below is a little promo video I shot. I made it to serve as a little "invitation" to our friends and neighbors, and it was really just an excuse for me to practice flying my drone and editing some video. In future blog posts, I'll go through the results of how Halloween went, some of the prior art, my overall design process, and potential areas of future work.
I couldn't have done this without the help of my father-in-law who spent many hours helping me to construct the mechanical assembly, so I owe him a huge thanks. And I also owe thanks to the rest of my family for their supporting me to work on such a silly idea.