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The Hacksmith: Arduino-Controlled Hot Potato

By The Hacksmith

This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.


Not every Hacksmith project is a recreation from comics, movies, or video games. While this hot potato could have been made into the Mochlan game of Lachcomb from The Orville, Riley decided to make a game more suitable for humans. This hot potato uses an Arduino to cause a shock at various intervals as it’s passed around. See how it works and watch the Hacksmith team play a few rounds of hot potato—or should it be called taser potato?


How Does It Work?

“It’s effectively hot potato, but the penalty is you get hurt… by about 40,000 volts through your fingers.” If two of the contact points on the potato are connected, the holder will get zapped. The more contact points that the user touches, the more the charge is spread out, making their fingers hurt slightly less. Although a real potato would have been a pretty cool container, this hot potato sits in a 3D printed case.

Bogdan, the resident electrical engineer on team Hacksmith, improved upon the circuit to add a timing sequence. The mechanism driving the shocking factor in the potato is a 40,000-volt, zero-voltage-switching taser module. This module is powered by a 3.V lithium ion battery. To control when the taser turns ON and OFF, an Arduino is used (in this case, an Arduino Mini Pro), along with a logic level MOSFET. The Arduino code enables the potato’s taser to turn ON and OFF at random intervals. Once the code is implemented, you and your friends are ready to have a good time… or a bad time… depending on your definition of a good time.

Bogdan’s Arduino Code

Bogdan’s Arduino Code. He later changed the variables to make the potato put off more electricity more often—because the first few rounds of hot potato weren’t shocking enough.

More Hacksmith Arduino Projects

If you’d like to see more Hacksmith creations controlled by Arduinos, check out these other projects.

If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest Hacksmith projects, be sure to check out the Hacksmith VLOGs Channel!

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