Hardware Prototyping: The Spirit of Hogwarts

Project Status: Complete

In my hardware prototyping class, taught by Michael Nitsche, we were assigned to create a film prop using the Arduino. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I naturally decided to create a Harry Potter film prop.

The Story

Hidden within an ancient copy of a fairy tale book, lies the spirit of Hogwarts. This book was instrumental in the creation of Hogwarts. The contents reflect the state of the school, showing the vibrancy of each house;  a red Gryffindor nest, a blue Ravenclaw surface, and a yellow Hufflepuff “H,” which also represents Hogwarts. But where is Slytherin? That is what you must find.

Cast the spell “revelio” and wave your wand to find Slytherin. Hogwarts cannot survive if the houses are not healthy. This is a previously undiscovered artifact that the founders and past headmasters used to determine the overall health of the school.

For those at home with their Muggle side, they can search to find the secret switch to light the H.

Creating the Object

To make this film prop, I used a hollow copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard, a light up wand, and an Arduino.

Using the Arduino, I connected two photosensors to an LED lightbulb, with the goal of the photo sensors detecting the light from the wand.

The two photosensors take in light data and, depending on the data, the LED light turns on

The photosensors gather the ambient light data, average it, and record that data. Using the data, I set up a comparison that records the wand light input.

I also connected EL wire to the Arduino itself, however at this point, it can only be activate by pressing the button on the inverter.

I hot glued the EL wire inside, which was fun. The strings from the glue make a spiderweb effect, which represents the age of the book itself.


Basically, I have the EL wire making the “H” and it can turn on if someone presses the button on the inverter.

All in all, I would love to expand on it further in future iterations. There is a lot of room for growth and I’d enjoy working on it.

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