Trying to get kids to do their share of the chores classes as a chore in itself--especially if you don't convince them with money. However, there is a way of inspiring the kids to do their housework without resorting to bribery and using one of their favorite toys, the Xbox.
Ben Heck created the coin-operated Xbox system to get children doing their chores in return for an amount of video game time. Everytime your kids complete a chore, they are receive a token coin granting them 15 minutes of gaming time--this is monitored by flashing countdown lights. Once the time is up, the console's power will be cut. So not only do the chores get finished, but you can also regulate the amount of time your kids are staring at the box.
Most of the magic doesn't involve you modding the actual Xbox, but the power supply. You can build a small box that will not only accept the tokens and start the countdown, but also house the power supply. You could instruct the coin slot to switch off the power cord by adding an Arduino board in, but due to the space inside the box, it's better to flash chips with a programmer and embed in the system instead. Those two LED lights can run off shift registers, and the token system's coin slot can be obtained from arcade part vendors. Add in a bit of circuitry, and you'll have the perfect coin-operated Xbox.
It's not just the kids who benefit this system: it could work pretty well with adults who like to emmerse themselves in gaming rather than work too! Though why stop at the Xbox? Build a bigger box to house the whole TV power supply, and you could even control TV or movie time. Or, if you're feeling particularly mean, build another one for the computer (oh, oh).
To understand how to flash chips, get parts and for a little help with the circuitry, check out Ben's video of the hack below:
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