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Ben Heck’s Naughty or Nice Meter Helps Keep Kids in Line. If They Still Believe in Santa.

by Lambert Varias

Master modder Ben Heck recently finished a Holiday hack that could help the young ones stay behaved. I say could because as we all know how utterly wild these creatures known as “children” can be. But if your little loved ones are still spellbound by the concept of Santa, they could be controlled with Ben Heck’s Naughty or Nice Meter.


In keeping with the Holiday theme, the gadget is officially named Self-Aware Niceness Tester, Analog or S.A.N.T.A. for short. The idea is to have a meter that can magically update in real time to show kids how naughty or nice they’re being. Even though the meter itself is fairly large, the box only contains a TI Launchpad microcontroller, a Bluetooth module and a servo that moves the needle.


The magic happens in the companion mobile app, which was made by Ben Heck’s buddy Jesse Robinson. The app’s interface looks exactly like the dial of the meter; touch a spot on the app and the meter moves accordingly. You can see it in action over on episode 39 of The Engadget Show, which also contains a bit of trivia about and lots of useful tips from Ben Heck.

It’s a naughty way of keeping the peace at home, although knowing how savvy kids are with gadgets, I’m pretty sure this won’t work for long.

[via Engadget]

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