Build Your Own Equoid

(See: "Equoid" by Charles Stross)

When I am mowing the lawn I often find all sorts of weird shit. I don't mow the lawn very often because I can't fucking breathe (emphysema) and I have to stop shoving the mower every few yards to huff and pant and recuperate, and people have this tendency to chuck random crap into my garden, so I have found hammers and computer keyboards and fuck knows what hidden in the long grass. It is quite useful really. Most of the things I find, admittedly, are bottles and cans, which I can't be arsed to pick up so I just mow over them and add bits of shredded plastic and aluminium to the composition of the soil, but the things which are not bottles and cans do tend to have some degree of usefulness, even if the use to which I put them is not necessarily that for which they were originally intended.

Circuit diagram of equoid oscillator
Oscillator used for the equoid conversion

The latest weird thing I found while mowing the lawn was a pink rubber unicorn with part of one foot chewed off. There were various things I could have done with it, such as mowing it, or packing it with explosives and blowing it up, but I decided that converting it into an Equoid would be more fun.

The heart of the conversion is a long tailed pair configured as a Schmitt trigger which is used to implement an exponential-sawtooth generator. The sawtooth waveform is used to vary the current through, and hence the brightness of, two red LEDs used to represent glowing eyes.

The eyes of the rubber unicorn were made from lenticular chunks of clear plastic with the image of a distinctly non-equine iris and pupil applied as a backing, implanted within sockets in the rubber. Using a screwdriver I was able to gouge them out of their sockets without significant damage. I then drilled a 3mm hole through the pupil from behind, stopping short of going all the way through, and superglued an LED into it. Another hole in the back of the eye socket provided space for the leads to poke through. The sockets are quite deep and overlap the rims of the eyes by quite a long way so shoving the modified eyes back into their sockets was really fucking hard, but I managed it eventually after holding the head in front of a fan heater to soften the rubber a bit.

The head is a separate moulding from the body and the two are connected by an interlocking flange. I ripped the head off and stuffed the oscillator down the hole, then connected it to the wires from the LEDs in the eyes and shoved the head back on. Two more wires run from the oscillator out of the hole where the foot has been chewed off to supply power to the circuit.

Screenshot from video of equoid

Click the above image to watch a video of the equoid on Vimeo, or download it here.

"Equoid" by Charles Stross

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