Articles, Blog

FINALLY! Wipers Sync to Music

October 31, 2019

Hi, I’m Ian Charnas, and in today’s video we’re going to be solving one
of the most important problems to ever plague humans in
their entire existence, here on this planet, or anywhere. And of course, I’m talking
about the problem that, when it’s raining outside,
you’re driving your car, you’re playing music, but the
windshield wipers are not, they’re not syncing to
the beat of the music. The music’s going [vocalizing] and your wipers are going [squeaking] And today, we’re going to, what the? And today, we’re going to
solve it, once and for all. I’m standing next to my, always clean car, which is never ever covered in bugs or bird poop of any kind. [happy music] [squeaking] Gross. [water spraying] You know, at some point
you just buy a new car. Pardon me. How do bugs get on the back of the car? Am I reversing too fast? Are they chasing me, and
then I come to a stop? Whoa, I have never seen a bigger bird turd than what I’m looking at right now. How big can this bird be? What is he eating? Well hi, Ian, I’m a
seagull. I eat small fish, terrestrial arthropods, marine
and freshwater invertebrates, small fruit and nuts, and your sandwich, if
I can get away with it. [laughs] Sorry about that. Look, it’s not always about you. I’m not aiming for your car, dude. I’m just trying to live
the best version of me that I know how to live. I eat, I digest my food, I soar, and you know, stuff happens. Sometimes it happens on your car. Ha ha, c’est la vie. Well, that was weird. Okay, first thing we
got to do is figure out, can the windshield wipers
keep up with the music? The little control
doohickey has two speeds. There’s low, and high. So, I can turn it on low. That’s pretty slow. Okay, let’s go ahead and turn it on high. We need this thing to be
going faster, I’m sure. [wipers thumping]
[happy music] Okay, that might not be fast enough. So, we need a power supply circuit that’s going to be able to control the speed of that wiper motor. And I’ve got this other project here, this secret project a friend
and I had been working on. The power supply circuits here,
with a couple modifications, would be perfect for controlling the speed of the wiper motor, at least until the wiper
motor catches fire, because I’m putting way
more current into it than it was ever designed for. Let’s try it. Hi, I’m Ian Charnas, I’m requested non-celebrity
endorser of, the Ohio BMV’s online renewal site. Did you know, the Ohio BMV
has an online simulator for personalized license plates? [whoosh] Yeah, really. Just visit,
click specialized plates, and select the type of vehicle you have. Find a plate you like,
and order it right there. How does that make you feel? [whooshing] Get one to celebrate your pet, [dog barks]
[cat meows] [horse neighs] or send a plate to that celebrity you’d like to collaborate with. SIMONE: Simone Yacht, Giertz, whatever. WILLIAM: I’m William Osman. ADAM SAVAGE: Hey everybody, Adam here. Wishful thinking? You bet it is. While we’re at it, why not wish for that sponsor you’d like to have. [whoosh]
[electricity crackling] [drill buzzing]
[whoosh] Or, use it as a fun, and much more difficult way
to text your loved ones. [ding] See how much time you
can spend on, and please, put your
favorite license plates in the comment section below. [car horn] We literally just did that. [car horn] It’s solder time. Some of the parts that go on
this board are pretty small, and they can be hard to solder. But, I’ve got a guy who’s okay at it. I mean, he’s okay. He’s not the greatest. Here you go, whatever your name is. So, is this like, our deal? You do all the talking,
and I do all the working? I do my job, you do your job. I mean, you’re just me
in a different outfit, you know that right? Like, the viewers aren’t stupid. Just solder the boards. Sure, I’ll do the soldering. Can you put on some royalty free music and make time go really fast? [upbeat kazoo music] All right, let’s crank this thing up. Going to one, two, eight nine, 10, 11, 12. 12 volts output? Let’s go higher, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. That’s a lot of smoke. I feel like I should be doing something. [dramatic music] Yep, I’m just going to,
just going to turn this off. So, all that smoke just
came out of the resistor, and that’s kind of a good thing. That means that these power
supplies can output more power than that resistor can handle. It’s time to put a motor
where this resistor was, a windshield wiper motor. [happy music] So, I found this wiper motor on ebay, and I think it even has
the linkage attached to it. So, this is what we’re
going to use for testing. [plastic rustling]
[happy music] [thud] Turn on some power, and crank up the voltage. Here we go. No whammy, no whammy, no whammy. This thing’s turning nice, we
might be at about six volts. All right, let’s just see how
fast this thing can really go. [dramatic music] Oh yeah. [dramatic music] All right, we can control
the speed of the wiper motor. The next step is to
synchronize this to some music. I found a composer I like a lot called Claus Appel. You can visit Claus on, and we’re going to be
listening to “This is Electro.” Now, my job is to turn
on the power supply, and see if I can get this to sync up. Here we go. [techno music] So, we know that we can use a knob and get the wiper motor
synchronized to the music. The next step is to replace this knob with something that automatically
syncs the wiper motors to the rhythm of the music. And, that’s going to involve some coding. I tried doing this next
part on an Arduino, but it just wasn’t powerful enough. So, we’re switching to a Raspberry Pi. This is a tiny computer that’s going to be the brains of our operation. It’s going to listen to the
music, detect the rhythm, and synchronize the wipers. So, all I’ve got to do is wire this up, and program this with an algorithm
called a phase lock loop, to synchronize the input of the music to the output of the wiper motor. But I’m feeling like I’m
fading just a little bit, and I might go get some food. So, I was kind of wondering if you could take over for a little bit? Yeah? Yeah, of course. Would you pick me up an ice cream? Game on. [clacking] [upbeat kazoo music] [drill buzzing] [techno music] [computer beeping] [techno music] [dramatic music] That’s not it. [techno music] Take it easy. Oh, come on. Come on. Come on. There you go. [laughs] [techno music] I’m going to put this in the video. Hi, we’re in my trunk, and I found a secret chamber. What goes in the secret
chamber? You may ask. Is it a dinosaur mating call? [mating call whines] Is it a 10 pound boat anchor? Is it an autographed
picture of Mark Summers, host of family double dare? “To Ian, good luck, Mark Summers” Aw, thanks Mark. [laughs] No, it’s actually for your
custom, home built electronics. And how did this get here? [upbeat kazoo music] [drill buzzing] [upbeat kazoo music] [ratchet cranking] [drill buzzing] [switch clicking] Hi James.
Hey Ian, how are you? Pretty good.
Cool. Thanks for coming out. Hey, Ian.
Hey, Thu. Thanks for coming out to hang out with me, and see my new invention. Yeah, of course. Matt, I’ve got a new
invention I want to show you. Well, is it anything that
you’ve been talking about in the past, I dunno, month or so? Nope, it’s windshield wipers that go to the beat of the music, whatever music you’re listening to.
Fantastic. Have I been talking about this? You did talk about it a couple of times. A couple times? A couple times. You’re talking non-stop. Eh. Seriously? And it works? Uh, a little bit.
Okay, I won’t, sorry. Maybe 90% I didn’t mean to ask that question first. I mean, does anything really work? How do you define work?
No, technology is terrible, and we pay a lot of money for
it to not work all the time. So as long as, yeah,
90% sounds pretty good. Absolutely. All right, go ahead
and turn on the system. Okay.
And an impossibly bright LED is going to come on.
Okay. Right now, there’s a computer in the trunk that’s booting up. Right, how do you know when its ready? You don’t. You just kind of guess?
There’s no indication. Should we try this on?
Yeah. All right, whenever
you’re ready, hit play. All right. And we’ll see if it works.
All right, here we go. Okay.
Three, two, one. Takes a second to start [heavy metal music] So, it’s going to start off slow, and then catch up to the beat. [heavy metal music] Oh, it’s getting there. [heavy metal music] Now it’s got it, it’s got the bass down. [heavy metal music] Wait for it. [heavy metal music] There it goes. That’s… That’s it. This is the most satisfying
thing I’ve ever seen. IAN: Oh, yeah. JAMES: Every car should have this. Every car should have this. [wipers thumping] And what happens when
there’s no audio input? It just keeps going? IAN: Um, it should stop after a while. JAMES: There it goes. Yeah, at a real convenient place. [happy music] This is it. Oh, wow, it’s working. [happy music] I love “Happy Farm Life.” The whole genre of like,
royalty free music. I know. I mean, I can see all kinds
of applications for this song. Like, if you just need some
background music for… Like, you’re walking down the street. Yeah, someone walking down the street. Like, smiling a little
bit more than you should for the situation.
Someone waving, someone like, washing their dog. Yeah
I dunno. There’s like, an old
man crossing the street, and then he doesn’t see a car coming. THU: Yeah, yeah. A young girl runs up who’s like “Whoa, don’t, there’s a car.” And then the sound effect of the bus, and like, the song cuts out. JAMES: That’s great Where should I take this? What’s the next, what’s the next step? I guess call some, I would
call car manufacturers. See who you can get a lunch with. Bring them right here. Yeah Yeah, Elon. [mumbling phone voice] JAMES: Oh yeah, get Tesla. They got all that Tesla money. Don’t put me on hold. Don’t you put me… He always puts you on hold.
Every time. And he doesn’t come back to the line. I know, he never does. He doesn’t remember. He doesn’t remember the little guys. He puts me on, I mean, at least he has
the good hold music. Him singing the “Hampsterdance.” [laughs] Do you remember that one?
What a fun piece of internet lore. Oh yeah. [vocalizing] Elon Musk, whenever no
one’s looking at him, that’s what he’s doing. [music] We got it.
I almost feel like the wipers need arms or something. You know what I mean? Hey, do you want to hear the
test tracks I was testing with? MATT: Yup. [techno music] IAN: It’s catching up. MATT: Yeah it is. [laughter] It’s got it. Claus has done it again. [techno music] [clapping] Should I pretend to drive? Yeah. Turning. [yells] I don’t know why all cars don’t have this. You don’t even care that it’s raining. THU: Yeah, or if it’s not raining, I just turn the wipers on. Yeah, just dry wipe. Yeah, just dry wipe. You can maybe sync other
stuff, like the blinkers. Blinkers. For like, high occupancy lanes. You can just have a skeleton
in the passenger seat, Oh, yeah, yeah
just nodding. Yeah, just nodding. Yeah, so you carpool illegally. For everyone who made it this far, I have a special surprise. I’m going to give you a chance to own the intellectual property on
dancing windshield wipers. I am holding in my hand, a provisional patent application I filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and I will be transferring ownership to the winner of this ebay auction. Yup, this idea is for sale,
and the bidding starts at $1. The buy it now price is $25,000. Proceeds go to charity
supporting young makers. Maybe you want to hang this on your wall and have a cool story
to tell your friends. Or, maybe you’re the CEO of an international automotive company that aims in delighting its customers, and you want to actually
put this in your cars, and it would be so awesome. Elon, come on, $25,000 is an impulse buy. Just get it. Hey guys, what ya doing later? You going to go to the pier? A Flock of Seagulls’ playing. Do you guys serve rotten
banana peels, by chance? Half eaten peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches? Do you have half empty cans of anything? Ice cream? YOUNG WOMAN: We have ice cream. Okay. A huge thank you to everyone
who helped with this project. I’ll put the credits in
the description below. If you have an idea for a
new invention you’d like to see me build, please
put it in the comments. Also, if I get above 1,000 subscribers, I’ll make a new invention and
post the build video here. Until then, it’s going to remain blank. I hope it’s not blank by the
time you’re looking at this. But you can help by clicking subscribe, clicking the like button, and by sharing this
video with your friends. Also, click the bell icon so YouTube will actually notify you
when I post a new video. I’ll see you next time. [music]


  • Reply Brad Charnas October 9, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Ian- Fun video, great invention! I'd rank this way more delightful than some of Tesla's other whimsical features, for sure.

  • Reply Raymond K October 9, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Maybe Honda should buy this! I want dancing wipers in my Fit!

  • Reply Tom Kondilas October 9, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Good work amigo!

  • Reply Melina Gaze October 9, 2019 at 4:44 pm


  • Reply Jay Delich October 9, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Just another genius task by Ian! I can see this is the rainy east area but Arizona desert? We need the music timed to the in-car thermometer, as that moves too – usually above 100 degrees or so! Great video and absolutely amazing personality, not to mention how you went to the "birds". I imagine those around you wondered how that bird fit with the rainy wipers – well, it did!! What creativity ! Nicely done!!

  • Reply Christopher Rager October 9, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    YES! LOVE THIS. Idea: how about a switch to go to half time of the beat?

  • Reply Marco Reps October 9, 2019 at 8:31 pm


  • Reply Yugarshi Mondal October 9, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    I like how this goes step by step through how you thought about it

  • Reply soundman7718 October 10, 2019 at 2:35 am

    This is wonderful. 😀

  • Reply RedBeardRasor October 10, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Freaking cool! I'm imagining a Roomba with an attached mannequin torso with this technology on-board. The arms/head could be actuated by a similar mechanism to the window wiper motor mechanism. It could play music and dance as it cleans your floors.

  • Reply Casaundra Broadus-Foote October 11, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I love it! "dry wipe" might be my fav new term. Kazoo music a puuurfect touch.And…OMG Mark Sommers….our childhood survives with your signed photo! BRAVO!

  • Reply nimblor October 11, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Dude! You need to do the same thing with the turning signal lights so that if you turn them on the blinkage syncs with your beats.

  • Reply Michael Crumpton October 12, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Tesla could probably implement it as a software upgrade if you pay an extra $500.

  • Reply Juleru October 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Now test it with death metal!

  • Reply amholtin October 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Ian, great build! Is that acrylic or polycarbonate that you fold on the press brake? and did you just skip showing us the heating step?

  • Reply Raspberry Pi October 15, 2019 at 8:45 am

    likes and subscribes

  • Reply Ian Charnas October 15, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Hey everyone – thanks for checking out my video and putting up with my humor 🙂 I want to make more funny invention videos, and if you want to subscribe and click the bell too, that will really encourage me. I'm trying to get to 1000 subscribers so that YouTube will promote the video more.

  • Reply Jochen Panjaer October 15, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Quality stuff! Great production values in your video as well. You should definitely get more subscribers!
    Is the beat detection also able to detect other time signatures? (like 3/4 or 7/8)

  • Reply Nicolas Robbe October 15, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Fantastic content, and production quality. I thought you had in the tens of thousands of subscribers, because you clearly deserve it. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply tinaoest October 15, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Great Video! Love how one of the biggest problems of cars has finally been solved!
    – Anna O

  • Reply Andrew Dowling October 16, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Its almost there. You need to put in a multiple pole rotary switch. Have it run every other beat, or every fourth or eight beat. Speed control, but still to the music. If you could have some additional logic that tried to keep the same relative speed (when the song changes) that would also be a great feature. Setting 1 – 5-25 wipes per minute. Setting 2 15-45 wipes per minute. Setting 3 30-60 wipes per minute. Setting 4 45-100 wipes per minute. Setting 5 90 to 200 wipes per minute. I dont think it would be that hard to implement… It looks like the hard parts have already been finished.

  • Reply Zachary Foster October 16, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Yeah Adam savage collab would be pretty neat I’m here from Giz you’ve gained yourself another subscriber

  • Reply The IllumiLlama October 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Reminds me of those public television science programs. Love it.

  • Reply Richard Shillington October 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    I hope Tesla buys this!

  • Reply D Jensen October 17, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Those windshield wipers slappin' out a tempo,
    Keepin' perfect rhythm with the song on the radio,
    But I got to keep rollin'

    Ooh, I'm drivin' my life away, lookin' for a better way for me
    Ooh, I'm drivin' my life away, lookin' for a sunny day

    It happened Eddie Rabbit as well.

  • Reply Peter Harris October 17, 2019 at 10:31 am

    the beef is probably a slow jerk maybe

  • Reply CopperFiremist October 17, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Awesome! How long did this take you?

  • Reply Michael Arcuri October 17, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    I don't even want to drive my car again until I have these installed. Thanks Ian, for ruining my car!

  • Reply Cam with the Camera October 18, 2019 at 12:22 am

    I love everything about this video! Especially the format

  • Reply Pavel Král Kafeman October 18, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Excellent idea! Is it irony, or does it have any practical use …?

  • Reply Niels Affourtit October 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Someone here is suggesting you should add functions to automatically select the music based on the weather! This way you make sure they dont wipe too slow😁 or too fast

  • Reply Noah Somerville October 20, 2019 at 2:07 am

    "Like smiling a little bit more than you should for the situation." HAHAHA had me laughing. Also amazing job. I'm so glad you solved such a massive problem for us!!

  • Reply Funkotronimus Prime October 20, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Not sure how, but I wanna help! —I just stalk…followed you out in the Instagram/ Twitter worlds (@MakeMeister and @Funkotronimus)

  • Reply Simply Different October 21, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Lot waste of water 😕

  • Reply Steven Gamble October 21, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Plays new Tool album…computer self-destructs.

  • Reply Adam Costello October 22, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Heyo also from Cleveland. I love Will Osman, Simone G, and Michael Reeves and I also LOVE this. Keep on keepin on.

  • Reply Matt McMahon October 23, 2019 at 6:07 am

    what is the song at 0:33?

  • Reply Hugo Karlsson October 23, 2019 at 10:51 am

    This is what quality content looks like people, when you don’t find yourself scrolling through the comments while you watch the video!

  • Reply Hugo Karlsson October 23, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Brought here by Alex Bate on the raspberry pi team’s weekly newsletter! What an amazing channel you have! I hope you and Simone will do a collab!

  • Reply Sam Freeman October 25, 2019 at 1:40 am

    I love it, and I think you're looking at the wrong car company

  • Reply ugetridofit October 25, 2019 at 2:05 am

    LOL, you lost it for me as soon as you said you would use a Raspberry Pi!!! Why anyone would use one of those for any product just shows the utter lack of knowledge. For starters, they dont have the temp range to be put in any outdoor application, and secondly Not properly shutting it down is going to corrupt that uSD card if it doesn't fall out first because they stop using latches to hold the uSD cards in.

  • Reply captain skeptical October 25, 2019 at 7:15 am

    more useless crap.

  • Reply Raspberry Pi Spy October 25, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Great Raspberry Pi project and very well presented. By a weird twist of fate my wife might be needing a new car and a Honda Jazz is on the list. I'm sure she will love this upgrade. I'll surprise her …

  • Reply Beauty and the Bolt October 27, 2019 at 4:19 am

    WOOOHOOO!! So honored to have had you as a friend and mentor. Let's get to that 1k!!!

  • Reply Jesse Moody October 28, 2019 at 2:03 am

    This seems like something Musk would put in the Tesla. Great job! You really put in the extra effort so it was automatic (I would've just had the user manually tap the tempo)!

  • Reply Firebrand October 28, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    It's all fun and games until someone gets run over.

  • Reply Richard Allsebrook October 28, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Followed a link from DriveTribe. Instant subscriber.

  • Reply Christian Lundmand October 28, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    This is stupid! And I love it!

  • Reply Phil Hutchinson October 29, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Beautiful… Yea, subbed.

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