Youtube Twitter Pinterest Instagram GitHub

Opinionated Tissue Box

May 24th, 2020

The Opinionated Tissue Box is a tissue box that has been given opinions of its own. With each tissue pulled from the box, the box will share its opinion with you. Maybe it thinks you're doing a great job. Maybe it fears you're getting sick. Regardless, whether you asked for it or not, it will let you know.

My friend and I have this anti-tradition tradition. We pass back and forth The Celebratory $100 Bill each birthday, in part, to stay in contact with each other but also to stray from tradition. We can never spend the bill so it's lost its innate value but gained a value you can't put a price on. In an attempt to make it more interesting we try presenting the bill in new and creative ways. The Opinionated Tissue Box is my new and creative way for 2020. The hundred is on the bottom. My friend must listen through all of my opnions to reach it!

Step 1: Materials + Tools



Step 2: Configure WAV Files

Below is list of short sound clips I made. I ran out of things to say so I added some random sounds.

  1. "You da man"
  2. "Do'h!"
  3. "Happy Birthday Vahan"
  4. "You go girl"
  5. "God bless you"
  6. "Gesundheit"
  7. "You got this"
  8. "Seize the day!"
  9. "Carpe diem"
  10. "You're very welcome"
  11. "Beware the ides of March"
  12. "Nic is awesome"
  13. "That Nic is so cool"
  14. "Nic is such a nice guy"
  15. "Apple sauce"
  16. "Don't get sick"
  17. "Tissue?"
  18. "Stop it that tickles"
  19. "Not cool"
  20. "Not again"
  21. "Getting close"
  22. "Just joking"
  23. "I got you"
  24. Mac boot up 1
  25. Mac boot up 2
  26. Mac crash 1
  27. Mac crash 2
  28. “Achu!"
  29. Toilet
  30. Wilhelm scream

Covert the sound files to type WAV and optimize them for the Waveshield using Audacity. To import type M4A into Audacity on Windows OS, I downloaded the FFmpeg library. How to update Audacity's library preferences can be found at C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\help\manual\man\libraries_preferences.html. I also used Audacity to increase the sound file's volume by 15dB.

Format the SD card as FAT3 and download the WAV files to the SD card.

Step 3: Configure Waveshield

Connect the Waveshield to the Arduino. Insert the SD card in the Waveshield. Plug in the Audio Plug and wire the speaker. Connect the Arduino to your computer via USB. Open the Arduino IDE and follow the instructions to install the waveHC library. Run the test program and confirm your WAV files play on the Waveshield.


Step 4: Program the Arduino

With the Waveshield working, download the Opinionated Tissue Box program. This will play an sound clip when the raw value on analog-in 0 drops below 10. This should occur when the vibration sensor is triggered.

Step 5: Assemble

Prep the acrylic box. Drill a hole in the side for the USB power cable. Expect to mount the speaker in the base next to the Arduino. Drill mounting holes and speaker holes for the speaker in the base. I used bolts as standoffs to sandwich the electronics between the base and separateor plate. Drill holes in the corners of the base for the bolts.

Power Cable Hole

Speaker Hole

Prep the vibration sensor. Wire the vibration sensor across A0 and Gnd, thin terminal to Gnd. Use a foot of speaker wire to extend the range of the vibration sensor. I soldered female header pins to the end of the speaker wire and glued the sensor inside the header socket.

Vibration Sensor

Sandwich is all together. If you are unable to 3D print a separator plate, fret not. A separator plate can be made using various materials: sheet metal, plywood, acrylic, cardboard. You want something that can have holes drilled through it and is sturdy enough to sandwich the electronics against the base. Mount the speaker to the base and sandwich the Arduino between the base and separator plate. Insert the sandwich in the acrylic enclosure running the sensor through the tissue opening. Place any loose wire inside the tissue chamber and hot glue the sensor against the tissue opening edge. Expect the sensor to trigger with each tissue pull.


Sensor Through

Sensor Glued

Step 6: Enjoy

Place your thoughtless gift (the cash) at the bottom of the tissue chamber. Pile tissues inside. You friend must suffer through recordings of your voice before arriving at "the prize".


Nest Step

My tissue box vibration sensor was calibrated while connected to a laptop. Unfortunately, different power supplies induce a different baselines on the Arduino's analog-in. A better alternative would be to use a binary sensor, one that is either on or off, connected to a digital-in on the Arduino.