Great Uncle Edward

by littleBits

Published on April 23, 2014

This creepy portrait has motion triggers that sense when you are near and eyes controlled by a servo that watch you wherever you go. The double AND, double OR, inverter, and latch make up the logic behind Uncle Edward’s eye movement.

More info about the circuit here

How To Make It


Build the circuit. See the attached document for more detail.


Find a picture frame and attain a portrait of a person. You can also draw or print out a portrait of yourself! Cut out the eyes, but keep the pupils in a safe place (you can also print / draw pupils - we used photoshop to make ours).


Place a piece of cardboard on the back of the picture frame. Hold the portrait up to the back of the board and mark where the eye holes are. Cut out the eyeholes in the cardboard. Your circuit and eye-moving-structure will all also sit on this board.


Place the RGB led Bits behind the eyeholes on the cardboard and tape them in place.


Cut two wooden dowels to the same length.


Attach one end of the first wooden dowel to the servo. We used the round servo attachment arm, and connected it to the dowel with Gluedots. On the other end of the dowel, lightly hammer a nail down the center of the circle (the nail should still stick out at least a half inch). For the other wooden dowel, hammer nails in both ends.


Make a cut in the cardboard that is the shape of the servo and the attached dowel piece. The cut should be vertical and located to the left of where the eye holes are. The servo should fit tightly in the cardboard, but make sure to leave a little bit of space around the dowel so that it will spin easily when you tape paper around it. Make a small cut for the nail on the other end and anchor it using a piece of a plastic straw as a bushing. Hold the straw in place with tape.


Make a cut for the other dowel like we did for the first one. The cut should be located opposite the first dowel. Make small cuts for the nails and anchor them using pieces of plastic straws as bushings. Hold the straws in place with tape.


Make a long scroll out of computer paper to go around the two dowels. Feed it around the dowels and tape it to the dowel with the servo. This way, when the servo turns the first dowel, the paper scroll will move smoothly to the left and the right.


Secure your circuit to the back of the cardboard piece using Gluedots. We made an indent for our circuit to sit in so that it doesn’t interfere with hanging the picture on a wall.


Drill two holes in the front of your picture frame for the motion triggers to sit in. The holes should be facing about 45º outwards to the left and to the right, and wide enough for the cones on the motion triggers to fit into. Color the inside of the holes black with a Sharpie.


Place the motion triggers in each hole. You may want to try some of the motion trigger tips & tricks ( to limit the range the motion trigger can sense.


Glue pupils to the appropriate place on the scroll. Adjust the slide dimmer to find perfect the eye positioning.


Secure the cardboard and the portrait in the frame and hang it on the wall.


A tip: We found that it becomes more realistic when the eyes moves slowly. We are in the process of making a Bits module for this effect (coming soon), but for now you can achieve the same effect by using an almost depleted battery.

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