I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there isn’t actually any magic whatsoever inside of a Magic 8-Ball. The only thing that’s actually in there is a white icosahedron (a 20-sided die) floating in a bath of dyed alcohol. The only fortune teller involved in the toy’s messages is chance. Ronald McCollam decided he might as well have some fun with that, and built Magic Hate Ball to display rude messages inside of vaguely-wise ones.
McCollam has been tossing around the idea of creating “hostile art” for a while now, which he describes as art that punishes you for interacting with it. Magic Hate Ball is the first project he has built that fits into his hostile art philosophy. The simplest way to complete this project would have been to create a new icosahedron with custom messages on it. But McCollam decided to go in a different direction and used electronics instead.
First, he took a regular Magic 8-Ball and cut it open to remove the icosahedron and alcohol. Then he replaced those with an Adafruit Feather HUZZAH ESP8266 microcontroller development board, an Adafruit 3-axis accelerometer, an Adafruit 1.54″ 240×240 TFT LCD display with MicroSD, and a 2000mAh lithium-ion battery. The ESP8266 is programmed to display a message on the screen anytime the accelerometer detects you shaking it, and McCollam has packed it full of antagonistic messages.