Memento Mori – mostly finished

Here’s some video documentation of my Memento Mori project. Pushing a button opens a box which then provides a highly specific fortune.

I’m using a standard servo screwed to the bottom right side of the box to open the lid (I had to upgrade from a micro servo which wasn’t powerful enough). Once the box opens a fortune prints out using a thermal printer.

My initial goal was to have hundreds if not thousands of fortunes, stored on an SD card. Unfortunately I had some difficulty in getting the card reader working with Arduino, so I resorted to using the flash memory of the microcontroller itself – a technique I learned here.

My other challenge was hooking up enough power to the system. I wanted to power everything with batteries, but was having trouble providing enough current for the thermal printer to output anything. I tried connecting some 9V batteries in parallel but it didn’t quite do the trick and also made the batteries dangerously hot. This is definitely an amateur issue… I ended up powering the printer with an adapter and the arduino with a 9V.

I sourced the fortunes from New York Times obituaries. I wrote a little script using NodeBox’s Linguistics library that alters texts by switching sentences from third to second person, and changes tense from past to future. I edited the results to produce the fortunes:


The arduino code for the project is here on github:

2 thoughts on “Memento Mori – mostly finished

  1. I am so excited to see this! The mechanism is wonderful and the fabrication of the enclosure is wonderful! Congratulations! I am happy to help sort out the power issue. Can’t wait to get a fortune out of it! B_

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