Skittles are perhaps known as much for their brightly colored exterior as their sugary sweet taste, but most of us are content to eat them, without truly appreciating their looks. JohnO3, however, has come up with what is — feel free to prove me wrong — perhaps the coolest Skittle display ever made.
The Skittle Pixel8r acts as a sort of single-axis CNC machine, pulling a Skittle dispenser funnel over one of 46 display channels with a servo/timing belt setup. On top of the assembly, eight dispensing apparatuses equipped with a metal gear servo drop the proper colored skittle down an upper funnel. These then travel down a tube into the lower funnel and finally the display area, covered on the front with a pane of glass for all the world to see. Control of the device is via an Arduino Mega along with a stepper driver.
Reportedly, the most difficult part of the build was designing the individual Skittle dispenser boxes, but after a few iterations, the laser-cut design seems to work quite well. In addition to the build itself, the project write-up goes over how to generate a swirled rainbow in GIMP, though one could presumably “draw” anything you could imagine. After that, the other challenge is actually separating Skittles out into their individual eight colors, though if you were especially ambitious, you could automate this based on one of the many color sorters available online!