People get charitable around Christmas, and there are companies out there that like to get in on the action. Some release products designed to raise money for charities, while others launch stunts for a variety of reasons. This connected claw machine from Liberty Games is definitely the latter, but it's quite a fun way to help donate some money to homelessness charity Crisis - all without having to put much effort in.
Liberty Games is a company that sells game room products, which includes things like claw machines, arcade cabinets, pool tables, and stuff like that. So they're in a prime position to hook up a machine to the internet, with the aid of a Raspberry Pi, some claw machine software, and a camera that live streams the view of the machine for the world to see.
The goal here is to let people on the internet remotely control the claw and see if they can get remove cuddly toys from the cabinet. And for every cuddly toy that gets removed, Crisis gets a donation of £1 to £5 depending on which kind of toy was 'won'. The toys themselves will be donated once they're out, and Liberty Games has promised to keep refilling the machine whenever it starts to run low. That way there's plenty of opportunity for people to play with the machine, and plenty of money that can be donated as a result.
It's quite tricky to get the aiming right, and you only get 40 seconds to try and grab yourself a toy. Claw machines aren't known for being particularly co-operative at the best of times, so that adds a bit of pressure. But hey it's a nice way to spend a couple of minutes, and help charity out in the process. Just head over to the Liberty Games website to play, watch the stream, or read about how they put the system together.
Obviously if you don't feel like playing, but want to contribute, you can send Crisis a donation directly. Apparently it only takes £28.18 to give a homeless person somewhere to go this Christmas, but you can give them as much (or as little) as you like.