How to Automate a Haunted House Using Sensors

You've built a creepy haunted house and it's the scariest one around. How do you take it to the next level? Automate it using non-contact infrared photoelectric sensors to control electronic scare devices.

Haunted houses are designed to be very creepy and with enough volunteers, they may be loaded with frights around every corner. What if there are not enough volunteers available to haunt the house? Infrared photoelectric sensors are the perfect device to detect guests and to trigger electronic gadgets, such as noise makers or motorized animatronic characters, giving visitors a scare they won't soon forget.

Sensors are used every day in various industries ranging from food processing to automotive assembly lines. Some of the top commercial haunted houses in the country are now using the very same sensors to automate their haunted attractions, providing a far creepier presentation. Industrial sensors are available to the general public for less money than you might expect, giving the average Joe an opportunity to built a haunted house that rivals even the ones presented by major theme parks.

The easiest type of photoelectric sensor to use in a haunted house attraction is one that uses a mechanical relay switch. This type of sensor is as easy to wire and operate as a light switch. Also be sure that the photoelectric sensors use infrared light and do not display a visible light which would draw attention to them. Arrange the photoelectric sensors across from each other in a hallway or door jamb, or anywhere that a guest will pass between them. The guest will break the infrared beam of light, causing the mechanical relay switch in the photoelectric controller to close, which will provide power to a noise maker or animatronic device. Each time a guest passes the sensors, the same action will occur repeatedly without operator intervention. This allows volunteers in the haunted house to spend time mingling with the guests and not hiding behind walls, just making noise.

Related articles
How to Host a Spooky Halloween Karaoke Party
How to Make Trick-or-Treaters Feel Welcome


Telecommuting: Bringing the Work Back Home

The Industrial Revolution brought people out of cottage industries and into the public workplace. Years of long commutes back and forth to work and the stresses of dealing with heavy traffic and with strange office politics have left much of the workforce in search of a well-deserved break. Many people have discovered a path back to their cottages. They are the telecommuters.

In recent history, technology has opened a door of opportunity to employees that allows them to work from home. These employees are evolving into telecommuters. Modern communications technology and a drastic improvement in computer capabilities now allow workers to perform their jobs from home instead of requiring them to commute to and from the workplace.  In years past, if someone wasn't working from home, it meant that they didn't have a home and they were typically labeled a nomad. As time went by and people began congregating in centralized locations to perform their work duties, the idea of working from home became synonymous with being a nomad. It was even rumored that a person working from their home would likely wander from job to job. In present times, it seems that history is repeating itself and workers are making their way back home. (Whitford, 44)

A telecommuter, or "distance worker", as they are often called, is an employee who opens a channel between their place of work and their home to conduct business away from the office. (Wiscombe, 18) This channel may be a telephone line with a modem, a cable line with a broadband modem, or even a T1 line. Using this channel, an employee gains access to files on their computer and other company resources including, but not limited to, internal company servers and mainframes. Some businesses even offer a connection to their servers through a secure website on the Internet. There are many other contributors to the increase in telecommuting. Rick Howell, the vice president of human resources for The Heathman Group, a Portland Oregon based chain of hotels and restaurants, says, "The Internet has certainly helped speed things along, but there are many other forces driving the trend toward telecommuting. Email is a big factor and cell phones, laptops, fax machines, and wide area networks play a big part, too." (Whitford, 44)