Sit. Lie Down. Rollover. Play Dead

One of the stranger requests by my employer was this…

‘Can we make a taxidermied dog bark?’

Why? Because we’re an experience agency, and on the wall in our MD’s office is a picture that says: You might not remember very dog that ever barked at you but you never forget the dog that bites you.

Well, we didn’t make it bite but it did growl.



Using an Arduino YUN, a USB Sound Adaptor, a USB Hub (for power), an Ultrasound sensor, an LED strip (to feedback proximity), a Micro SD card (for MP3) and a set of speakers.


Luckily, Stefano Guglielmetti had just posted his ‘Can’t Touch This‘ project, so I was able to reference that with regard to the Sound Adaptor, and I already had the proximity code from a previous project. What I did leave out (with some regret) was the a webcam; I was keen to push the reactions to a Tumblr blog (like my UX Hack talk).

The Dog

The sensor was among the sweets and business cards, when a prospective client reached for one the dog growled.

Cue, a lot of surprised people swiftly withdrawing their hands, before taking a chocolate.

To say it got a reaction is an understatement but it was all good fun and certainly made us stand out from the other stands.


It wasn’t supposed to be a real dog but with a week to go, an executive decision was made. I’ll just say it was polarising.

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