Remember the excitement of a loose tooth? There was always the promise of a few coins or a special toy from the Tooth Fairy when a tooth finally came out. Today’s youth are savvier than ever, and fooling them with a fairy that flies around to all of the houses in the world every night might not be as easy as it used to be. So one awesome dad built a Pneumatic Transport Tube for the Tooth Fairy…and all kinds of other beloved childhood gift-giving creatures.
Jeff Highsmith, maker and builder extraordinaire, used a regular household vacuum, some flexible PVC pipe and a Raspberry Pi to “hack” his house. The pipes run through the walls and into another part of the house. On the sending side, the child inserts a baby tooth and then instructs the transport system to carry the tooth to the Tooth Fairy. The iPhone interface shows that the tooth is traveling to its destination, being inspected, and ultimately being approved. The next step is for the “Tooth Fairy” to send a special treat back.
The schematics, plans and explanation (all available over at Makezine) all make it sound relatively easy to set up a pneumatic tube system in your own home. It doesn’t have to be kid-oriented, either – adults would surely have just as much fun sending things to one another through the walls. Highsmith suggests that you avoid actually cutting into your walls if you don’t have a fair amount of home building or remodeling experience. Fair enough, but we still want to make an automated system that carries beers straight from the fridge to the easy chair.