What this is
A small, decorative house with a little person living inside.
Why I needed it
I saw one of these decorative Christmas houses once and I thought "wouldn't it be cute if I could simulate someone living in it?". "Yes it would", I thought, and that's how I got the idea. A few short months later, Christmas came around, and the house is built.
How I made it
I bought a Christmas house and put a microcontroller (an ESP8266) and a few color-changing LEDs in it. Then, I wrote a (pretty large, actually) script to simulate light bulbs, a crackling fireplace and a flickering TV, and the person moving around in the house and performing activities.
It turns out that the fireplace is rather easy to simulate just by varying the intensity of the light, but TV is almost impossible. I ended up recording an actual whole episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and using its average color values to simulate a TV playing inside the room.