Introduction: Animatronic Cat Ears

Picture of Animatronic Cat Ears
  I saw the demo video for the neurowear "necomimi" brain controlled cat ears and I thought they were pretty awesome.  I'm just starting to learn electronics and I thought a fun project to start out would be making my own version.  Sadly, I don't think I'm adept enough yet to take on making my own EEG and I don't think the EEG's that are available are very reasonably priced, so I settled for having a button input to control the cat ears.

  I wanted to build something that wasn't too expensive and was easy enough to be done in a sitting or two.  I picked out some cheap servo motors, some craft supplies, spent a weekend or two developing code to control the servo's from a microcontroller and after much trial and error, I built some kitty ears that I think are pretty decent.

  Here's a video of my lovely assistant using the Kitty Ears:

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

  Safety glasses
  Face mask
  Hot glue gun (and hot glue): I picked one up for under $5 at a local Michaels Craft store.
  Dremel:  $18.99 at Harbor Freight Tools (
  Drill: $18.99 at Harbor Freight Tools (
  AVR Programmer: USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit from $22.00 (
  Soldering Iron
  Wire strippers
  Wire cutters
  Flex tubing: $2.88 from WalMart

  ATTiny13: $1.09 from (
  4x micro servo motors (hxt900 compatible): I found a few different places to get these.  I've had good luck with hobbyking, but there's also, and ebay.
  Proto Board:  $3.19 from Radio Shack (
  Wire: Black and Red are good choices for colors
  Pushbutton:  I like the sub mini pc mount pushbuttons (4 for $1.00) (
  1k resistor: (brown black red)
  LiPo battery: Anything that will be able to supply 3A worth of current.  Here's a good choice from hobbyking for $5.33:
  LiPo battery charger:  You might want to shop around on ebay, but Hobby King sells one that I've used and seems to do the job here: ($11.44)
  DC-DC regulator: $4.90 from hobby king (
  Stiff plastic headband: preferably black.  I found one at a garage sale, but here's a cheap source I found for them online ($7.49 for 12) (
  Black fur, white fur and grizzly black fur cloth:  I found these three at Joanns for about $5-10 a yard each
  Glue for glue gun
  Sheet of acrylic (1/8" should do): Picked one up for around $5 at the hardware store
  Metal brackets:  I used mailbox brackets that I picked up at the hardware store for $7 or so
  Gorilla glue

Optional Materials:
  Sewing Machine
  Black insulating tape
  Sand Paper

Step 2: Mounting the Base Onto the Headband

Picture of Mounting the Base Onto the Headband

First we need to figure out where to put the ears on the headband and how to fasten them so they're firm.  You should have received some arms with the servos you ordered.  Pick out an arm that has a horizontal presence and a smaller vertical presence.  We will fasten this via screws to the head band so that the servo responsible for the left/right twisting motion of the ear will be secured to it.

Once the arm is picked out, figure out where each ear should be placed on the head band.  Drill out three holes for each ear, 6 total (3 on the left, 3 on the right).  Make sure to position the holes in as straight a line as you can, using the arm holes as a guide to the approximate location of the holes in the headband.  The line the holes lie on should be perpindicular to your face: i.e. they should run from ear to ear and not the other way.  I found that 5/64" drill bit worked well as the hole produced was just bigger than the servo screws I was using.

Once the holes are drilled, fasten the servo arm to it.  You can screw the servo into the arm through the middle screw of each arm to make sure things look right and the range of motion is preserved.  If any of the screws that jut up from the bottom interfere with the motion of the servo just use the dremel to shave off the top portion of the screw.

Step 3: Constructing the Servo Arm

Picture of Constructing the Servo Arm

Next we will create the arms that attach to the base servos where the "back and forth" servos will be attached, which I will call the "top" servos.  For a particular ear, the second, top, servo is attached to the base via a metal arm.  The top servo will be attached to the arm via a plastic arm that came with the servos.  You might need to cut an arm to fit onto the metal bracket so it doesn't jut out anywhere you don't want it to.  We will be constructing the metal arm that the top servo is attached to from the mail box brackets.

The mail box brackets are much to long so they will need to be cut.   To measure where to cut the metal mail box brackets, place the base servo on its side where at the base of the metal bracket, where it bends.  Next, place the plastic servo arm in line with the metal bracket next to the base servo.  Mark the top on the metal bracket and this is where we will need to cut.  We need to make sure the top is pretty close to the end of the plastic servo arm as any excess will interfere with the back and forth motion of the second servo.

Do this for both of the metal brackets and cut them with your dremel.  Once this is done, place the servo arm on the cut metal brackets.  Mark two dots for each metal arm where the servo arms main screw hold is and where you want the supporting screw to go.  Drill both of these holes in each of the metal brackets.

After you drill the holes for the servo arm, if you notice the corners are too sharp on the metal bracket, you might want to sand them down, either with sandpaper or a grinder.

Once you've drilled the holes in the metal bracket, it's time to glue them to the base servos.  I find gorilla glue to be strong enough.  You need to make sure that the second metal bracket is a mirror image of the the first when gluing it to the second base servo.

I had a hard time clamping them down with something that wouldn't stick to the end product so I just tried my best to position them with some clothesline clips so that the metal brackets dried with as much contact as possible to the base servo.  You need to make absolutely sure that no glue creeps into the shaft of the servo as that will ruin any possible motion.

You can also replace the metal "L" brackets with anything that is strong enough.  I tried some plastic bits that I found at a hardware store in the shape of an L, but they turned out to be not quite long enough.  The only requirement is that they light enough and strong enough to be used as an arm so you might want to experiment with some other hardware bits to see if they work better.

Step 4: Constructing the Top Servo Skeleton

Picture of Constructing the Top Servo Skeleton

Cut out a pattern in paper of what you want the front of the kitty ears to look like.  Once this is done, trace that pattern twice into the sheet of acrylic and cut it out.  I used the dremel for this and the edges were pretty rough so I had to use some sand paper to even them out.

Position each of the top servos on their respective acrylic ear cutouts so that they are as far down as possible without jutting out from the bottom.  Make sure the shaft is horizonal relative to how the kitty ears will sit.  Once satisfied with the position, glue them to the acrylic.  Make sure that, just like the base servos, you glue the acrylic to the second one so that it's a mirror image of the first.

Step 5: Wiring the Circuit

Picture of Wiring the Circuit

I like to cut out only what I need from the perf board and then work on that.  I use 14-16 holes across (4 for the 8-pin ic + 6 for the two servos on a side + 2 for the button + 2-4 for power and ground).

You can see my wiring.  It's a little messy, but it works.  After the wiring is done, I like to use the multimeter to test for continuity to make sure everything is connected correctly.

I used right angle (0.1") headers for any connections to the circuit.  This keeps the vertical size down and puts it onto the foot print of where the circuit will sit on the headband.  I like to put the servo connections on the sides with the battery and power connections poking out of the back.

I like to cut out a small piece of perf board and connect the pushbutton to it.  I attached long wires to it to make sure I would be able to comfortably be able to push the button even though it's connected to the circuit that will ultimately sit on my head.

In order to connect the female leads on the battery, the regulator and the circuit board, I had to make a few makeshift male to male connectors from pieces of perf board and resized headers.

You can also check the circuit diagram here at upverter:

Step 6: Programming the ATTiny13

Picture of Programming the ATTiny13

Download the hex file for the kitty ears project from github and use avrdude (or whatever flavour of programmer you like) to program the ATTiny13.  The ihex file can be found here:

Once it's programmed, I recommend pluggin in the power (battery through the regulator, of course), a button and a single motor to make sure everything is working as it should.

Go through each servo connection with the motor.  For each posiion you should notice the servo motor wanting to be in a single position and fighting you if you try to change it.  Pushing the button should also change the position of the motor.

If things aren't working, here are some common things I've found are wrong:

  - Make sure continuity is correct for power, for ground, for the signal line from the micro to the signal line in the servo header.
  - Make sure your battery is charged and that it's outputing somewhere in the 8-40V range.  Make sure the regulator is outputting 5V.
  - Make sure all connections are properly soldered on.  If moving the board around, moving the servo or moving the power connection makes things jitter, this is a good indicator that a connection is coming loose or hasn't been soldered on well enough.

Whew!  A lot of work, but as you'll see, things are starting to takeshape and we're more than half way finished!

Step 7: Calibrating the Servos

Picture of Calibrating the Servos

The servos could be given to you in a any state or you could have moved them accidentally so it's best to position the servos while they're in 'home' position and so you know that they're not going to run into anything when they're moving.

Make sure the glue has dried for the base servos and the top servos.  I like to shave off the excess gorilla glue that comes out.  When you've made sure the glue has dried, mount the base servos onto the headband.  Connect the top servos to the base servo's arm.  Connect all the servos to the circuit board, making sure to get the position correct.

Depending on your servo, there will be different colors indicating which line out is power, which one is ground and which one is signal. ( has a lot of information about the servos commonly encountered, including the HXT900 ( and the TG9e(  A useful resource I found was here( where they give some common colors and their meaning:

    Servo Wiring
    All servos have three wires:
    Black or Brown is for ground.
    Red is for power (~4.8-6V).
    Yellow, Orange, or White is the signal wire (3-5V).

The programmed ATTiny13 expects the following arrangement (all positions as if we were wearing the kitty ears):

  pin 5 (PB0) - bottom right
  pin 2 (PB3) - top right
  pin 6 (PB1) - bottom left
  pin 7 (PB2) - top left

The datasheet for the ATTiny13 can be found here(

Once everything's connected, power on the circuit by attaching the battery to the regulator and the regulator to the circuit.  While the circuit is on, position each of the servos so that they rest in the desired home position.  The base servos should be facing forward and the top servos should have the acrylic in the same plane as your face.

Once they've been positioned, run through each of the preset motions to make sure they can move with the full range of motion without hitting the headband, the armiture or the other servos.  This also serves as a final test to make sure the circuit is working properly and gives you the opportunity to debug anything that might have gone wrong up till this point.

The preset motions are as follows:
    Press and hold - "Surprise"
    Tap then press and hold - "Angry/Sad"
    Tap three times - "Ear wink"

You might need to grind down the metal armiture around the edges where it's close to the top servos attached acrylic.

If the top servos motion hits the base servo during one of the preset motions, reposition the top servo forward a bit more so that its full range of backward motion is allowed.

Once the servos have been positioned, turn off the servo by disconnecting the regulator from the circuit.

Step 8: Sewing the Skin

Picture of Sewing the Skin

Next we will sew the outer cloth skin of the kitty ears.

Use the same pattern that you use to cut out the acrylic, trace it onto the white fur and cut it out.  The other black fur pieces aren't as important to get their shapes right as they will be mostly following the white front ear piece.

I used a 5x8 index card with a diagonal cut into it for the back ears pattern.  Make sure to have two pairs of mirror images of the back ear cut out of the black fur cloth.  The under skirt for the ear needs to be approximately the length of the bottom ear and an inch or so in height.

Don't worry about getting the black cloth exactly right as we're going to cut it to size when it's positioned on the ears.

When sewing, use the traced pattern on the front white ear as a guide as this will be what's most visible when the ears are assembled.  After you're done sewing make sure to cut the excess seam allowance on the inside.

Step 9: Gluing the Backing for the Top Ears

Picture of Gluing the Backing for the Top Ears

This step isn't strictly necessary but I like to give the ears a little body, so I glue some foam to the back of the top ears.

First cut out the a small ridge on the bottom so that it fits snugly on the top of the top servo (behind the acrylic of course).  Once you've positioned it, trace out the edge of the acrylic ear onto the foam and cut off the excess.  Cut off the excess foam to give the ear top a little bit of a shape.  Don't worry too much about this as it's going to be obscured by the folds of the cloth skin.

Use gorilla glue to glue it to the back of the acrylic front ears and wait till it dries.

Once it's dried, I like to run through the preset motions again to make sure the backing hasn't obstructed the range of the top servos.  Depending on how thick you made the foam, there might be a little lip at the bottom that will interfere with the base servo.  If it does, just slice off the portion of the foam that hits the base servo.

Step 10: Gluing the Skin Onto the Skeleton

Picture of Gluing the Skin Onto the Skeleton

I'm still having trouble with this one so you're going to have to try and do what you think is best should the steps below not work for you.

After the glue has dried from the ear backing it's time to glue the skin onto the skeleton.

I've found that going from the top down works best.  First glue the top half of the skin onto each of the ears using the hot glue gun.  Once that's set and dry, I glue the top of the skirt to the base of the acrylic ear.  Once that's dried, I tilt the top servo into the 'down' position and then cut off the excess bottom of the skirt and trim the sides and back making sure to err on the side of leaving to much.

Once it's trimmed and the ears are still in the 'down' position, I put a dot of glue onto the top of the base servo and attach the skin to it.  You want to make sure there's a little give because if it's too tight the servo will be fighting against the cloth tension when in the down position.  Once that's done, I go through and glue the sides and back of the ear onto the metal arm bracket or the base servo itself.  You just have to make sure not to get any glue in the shaft of the servo as that will obstruct movement.

In all of the gluing, you want to make sure that there's enough give of the fabric for the servos.  If the fabric is wrapped too tight, the servos will be fighting against it when moving.  I'm still having trouble with this step and the end product usually has a few positions where the servos are annoyed at not being in their final position.

At any rate, once the skin is attached and the glue has dried, you should run through the motion to make sure things still look alright.

Step 11: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly
At this point the kitty ears are almost done.  All that's left is to attach the circuit to the top of the headband (I use electrical tape for this), wrap the headband in some fur to cover up the circuitry and put the wire in some housing.

To start off I wrap the circuit in electrical tape and attach it to the top of the headband.  You just need to make sure the button connection or wire and the power connection come out the back.

Once the circuit is in place I put grizzly fur on the top as it has a little body and looks a bit nicer.  I hot glue on the front half of the grizzly fur to the bottom front of the headband.  I then hot glue a strip of velcro to the other end of the grizzly fur.  I glue the mate of the velcro to the bottom of the headband.  This will allow easy access to the circuitry, should I ever need it.  Cut a hole through the back of the grizzly fur so that you can access the power and button connections and/or wires.

Then hot glue the shorter fur to the sides and front portions of the head band that still show the plastic.

Insert the wire coming out of the back of the kitty ears into the flex tubing.

I like to attach a power button in between the regulator and the battery for convenience, but that's of course not necessary.  Find some housing (I use tick tack boxes) to put the battery and regulator in so that you can put it in your pocket and you're ready to show off your kitty ears!

And there you have it, kitty ears!

I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it here again:  The three preset motions are
    Press and hold - "Surprise"
    Tap then press and hold - "Angry/Sad"
    Tap three times - "Ear wink"

For those of you brave enough to follow this instructable all the way to the end, here's another video of my lovely assistant using them:

And here's another of an initial prototype:

Good luck and have fun!


JordanLam5 (author)2017-10-04

This is fantastic! I'm quite hyped about starting this project! But, at step 6, the hex file isn't available anymore with your link. Is there a way to put it back on? I doubt that i might be able to program the whole thing on my own otherwise...

pandaborn (author)2017-01-10

i was wonder if you could name a general price for one these? i'm on a budget but i have almost everything i need anyway for the rest of my cosplay, and was wonder if you would be interested in selling them or a pair like them? i can go about $20 or maybe more depending on the supplies you used to make them. but i'll have to draw the line at $40

abetusk (author)pandaborn2017-01-11

Unfortunately $20-$40 is too low for me to justify making these. The materials themselves will run that much. The labor on top of that and the quality of product makes it hard for me to rationalize working on it. I still haven't found a good way to "skin" the ears in cloth so that it looks good, fits well and is easy to make.

That being said, the materials are pretty cheap so this could be done by you for that much if you're willing to construct the ears yourself. If this is something that you'd like to do but have trouble programming the microchip (or have any other questions) then PM me and maybe we can work something out.

T0BY (author)2016-12-08

I love it! The video is brilliant!

NicoleP48 (author)2016-02-07

Hi I'm making this proyect for my electronic class and I'd be thankful if you suggest me what program is good for the attiny13, cause that's the only thing I need and I don't know what program works for the attiny13 I'm king of new for programming

abetusk (author)NicoleP482016-02-07

Hi NicoleP48!

Unfortunately the ATTiny13 is a bit involved to program. There are a few ways to get the program onto the chip that controls the servos (the motors in the ears) and listens to the buttons and I'll list them in order of difficulty below, from easiest to hardest.

The basic idea is that the ATTiny13 chip needs to be programmed with a HEX file. The HEX file is like a binary program for the ATTiny13 (like an EXE on a Windows machine) and can be located here: . Download a copy of that HEX file and save it for later. The next step is to get the HEX file into the ATTiny13.

Maybe the easiest way is to try to use an Arduino as a the device that programs the ATTiny13. Try taking a look at the following links:

The first instructable shows you how to wire the Arduino to the ATTiny13. The third one tells you how to use 'avrdude' to program using the Arduino (don't worry that the third instructable has a different 'target' chip, the wiring is the same as in the first one and the steps are still the same).

Another separate way not using the Arduino is to buy a dedicated USB ISP programmer (the ISP stands for 'in system programmer' which is the method by which the ATTiny13 is programmed). They are fairly cheap and doing a search for 'usb isp' should give you some links as to where to buy them. Here is one that I found though I haven't used it myself:

Once you have the programmer and the ATTiny13 chip, you can program it. One program to do that is called 'avrdude' and you can see how to use it with the USBtinyISP (which is the programmer listed above) here:

Don't worry that they mention 'ATTiny45' or ATTiny85', they should be mostly equivalent to the ATTiny13. If you go this route, you'll need to program the chip by invoking 'avrdude' with something like the following from the command line:

avrdude -c usbtiny -p t13 flash:w:kears.ihex

Where 'usbtiny' is the programmer (the USBtinyISP from Sparkfun), the 't13' is the target chip, in this case the ATTiny13 which as a code of 't13' and the command, which is 'flash', 'w' for write and 'kears.ihex', the HEX file downloaded earlier.

Sorry about it being so complicated! The ATTiny13 is a very nice chip and it's great that it's so small but it's also a real pain to program so it's not very beginner friendly. Most of what's needed is to wire one pin to another and make sure they all match up.

If you want to do a little investigation, I think the following links could be helpful:

If you can, I would suggest trying to program a simple 'LED flasher' circuit to test that the programmer is working before trying to hook up the servos. Once you get to the point of trying to hook the servos up, I would hook up the button and just one servo to test and make sure it's working on one servo. Once that's successful, you can then hook up the rest of the servos and build the rest of the project.

I'm happy to help if you have any problems, just let me know. Good luck!

NicoleP48 (author)abetusk2016-02-08

Thank you sooo much!!!

NekoLoveDoll (author)2016-02-05

How much you sell cat ears for?

abetusk (author)NekoLoveDoll2016-02-05

I haven't built any for sale. How much would you pay?

ccreswell (author)2015-07-14

So how much did it cost? Is it less then the Necomimi?

brianna.chavez.71066 (author)2015-02-13

this will be perfect for cosplay and a gift to someone! :D but one question, is the button for the ears on a separate part like a remote or something?

ia42 (author)2015-02-08

I'm thinking this gets pretty heavy, like over half a pound in total? I want to have a ballpark to see if this can be comfortaly used by a 7YO girl...

abetusk (author)ia422015-02-08

The servos themselves are 9g. I don't have a great sense, but the metal angles, plastic and fur might come out to another 50g? So I would guess about 100g in total or about 1/5 to 1/4 a pound.

You could try for lighter material and smaller servos, like the 'sub micro' servos which can get to less than half the weight of the 9g servos (but are much less powerful).

kitsune318 (author)2014-12-10

Oh man, if I had the money for it, I would SO ask if you could make one for me or something! I'm trying to make custom ears for my necomimi set that I have so that I can chose any kind of ears to wear along with the costume that I'm wearing but your ears react WAY better than the necomimi ears do!!! I wonder if you could also make a pair of feral fox ears and bunny ears with the same mechanics...

abetusk (author)kitsune3182015-01-16

Yep, you sure can! I actually made some bunny ears for a Halloween costume that used much of the same setup.

RAWRIwin (author)2015-01-15

I am like a year late but i need theses! don't suppose you do custom orders for people who don't understand how to even start lol

abetusk (author)RAWRIwin2015-01-16

Ha, more like 3 years!

I'm sorry to say in terms of my time and effort, it's probably not worth me doing this. What I can do is answer any questions you have and even provide you with some of the electronics portions that are a bit harder build (especially for someone who hasn't done that sort of thing before) but the sourcing of all the rest of the parts and constructing the rest of the ears is not something I want to do right now.

If it's any consolation, the hardest part of this project is the 'crafty' portions: sewing the ears, fitting them on, screwing the portions together and making sure things look good.

Out of curiosity, how much would you pay for something like the cat ears?


VJCoon (author)2014-03-10

Those are awesome! I really need to try learning code again. *thinks* I wonder if robotics code is easier than video game programming.
I can't wait to build some similar ones for my Yena.

Are you planning to eventually take them a step further? Responsive to head motions or sound?

Where did you go when you decided to start learning code and programing for things like this? I'm hoping to start learning a bit for this robotic character I've been thinking about turning into a costume.

jonrb (author)2014-02-01

Love them! I think some great things could be done with these if you added some kind of tilt sensing or something similar to that. Then the ears could act more or less on their own.

This could even become a machine learning experiment, where you can press buttons to associate them with head movements!

meghanmapes (author)2013-10-24

I'm having trouble in this step. I can't seem to get a reaction from the servos when the button is clicked. I've checked the output of the battery (8V) and regulator (5V). I've plugged them in and checked that all the servos are getting power and connected to ground. I've checked the flow of power and ground to the chip. The signal line from the chip to the servos is also good. When I first plug in the servos, the make a noise and snap to place. But when the button is pushed nothing happens. I've also checked to make sure the button being pushed is connected to ground and works when pressed. I took a backup chip and programmed it, and still nothing. My circuit board is wired almost exactly the same as yours, but with a few differences. I didn't use a header to connect the button, but instead wired it straight to the board. I also assumed you scratched away the back contact between the positive and negative of the battery header and button. My only option I can think of is to try is making a new board (breadboard this time) that takes up much more space since the only thing I've thought could be wrong is where the ground and power splits if that could change things (going parallel at different locations for different servos). Any suggestions how to troubleshoot at this point would be greatly appreciated!

abetusk (author)meghanmapes2013-10-28

Meghanmapes, you're going to have to start debugging, unfortunately. I would start simply, by putting the chip connected to one servo on a breadboard. If you have an oscilloscope, make sure the chip has been programmed correctly and you're seeing a PWM signal that looks reasonable. You can also verify that something is coming out the data line from the attiny13 by hooking up an LED in series with a resistor and seeing if you get something. After that's been verified, connect the button to the breadboard and see if you can induce state changes.

If you have some programming expertise, you might want to try writing a simple program to blink the light on the attiny13. Next a light with a button, etc. until finally working your way up to a servo.

The general idea is to isolate where the problem is. Is it in the button? (verify the button is behaving like you think it is). Is it in the servo? (does the servo work otherwise). Is it in the microcontroller? etc. Once you understand where the problem is, you can focus on what element is causing the problem. Best to start simply, testing your assumptions, and work up from there.

Though these are some tactics, you'll ultimately have to figure out what works for you.

Some things to watch out for: The attiny13 ships with fuse setting set that make it 1MHz instead of the 8MHz that the assembly code assumes. You have to explicitly set the fuses so that it runs at 8MHz. Look in the '' under the repo to see an example of how to set and read the fuses (and consult the datasheet to interpret what the fuses mean). Though I didn't put a pullup resistor on the reset line, that should probably be done, just to be sure. Putting a decoupling cap between power and ground is probably not necessary for this application, but can't hurt.

TL;DR: use yours or a friends oscilloscope to verify output lines. Breadboard. Debug.

Good luck! Please let me know how it goes. And if you wouldn't mind posting pictures, I'd love to see what you come up with.

meghanmapes (author)abetusk2013-11-05

Abetusk, thanks for all the feedback and suggestions. I'll be able to try some of the steps, but I don't have access to an oscilloscope. If I get it figured out, I'll def. post pics, but I have a sneaking suspicion this project will end up being shelved as unfinishable. Thanks for trying, though!

abetusk (author)meghanmapes2013-11-06

I understand. I had my own workflow for programming the micro and in retrospect it was too cumbersome to expect others to follow it. If you do pick it up again, let me know if you need any more help!

squishyjoss (author)2013-10-27

Its remarkable :)

badmoonryzn (author)2013-10-13

Wow, I never get tired of looking at your cat ears. I want to make a set my self one of these days. I have tons of RC parts to do the job. I want to try to make some without the noisy servos, but so far I have not come up with anything yet. I like the kitty mad ears. They look great and you are as cute as it gets. Nice work!

KatherineSchreiber (author)2013-09-06


Luziviech (author)2013-08-25

unfortunately, you got two bottom left and no top left in your description.

abetusk (author)Luziviech2013-08-26

Thanks, fixed.

OngakuShima (author)2013-03-11

Thanks for the link. I may be needing some help, but it will be some time... Right now I don't have m4 installed on my ancient Ubuntu. M4! That's a blast from the past.....

abetusk (author)OngakuShima2013-03-11

Yeah, sorry about that, I just picked the first thing that I found worked for coding in assembly. I had to go to assembly because the C was getting too big for the ATTiny13.

m4 is only used to replace some variable/register names. Feel free to update it!

OngakuShima (author)2013-03-11

Very cool. Wondering where I might get the source code to the hex file.

abetusk (author)OngakuShima2013-03-11

Whoops, sorry about that, I have a link to the ihex file but not the source tree. The source is here and all open.  PM me if you run into any problems and I'd be happy to help.

Happy hacking!

DividersMaker (author)2013-01-18

One word: awesome!

dario.massaro (author)2012-12-21

@Abetusk: Your build is awesome. I think it looks nicer and appears more functional than the commercial alternatives readily available. Do you think you could adapt it to function and look the exact same way but with an EEG/Mind Read spec instead of push-buttons??

abetusk (author)dario.massaro2012-12-21

It is possible and actually already been done. See here: . I don't have any plans on hooking up an EEG to it, but you're welcome to experiment!

dario.massaro (author)abetusk2012-12-21

Thanks for the details and the awesome project. :)

Luziviech (author)2012-10-04

Did i mention that this instructable is awesome? It's the first project, i try to use for my own project of a catsuit using my abilities of chainmail, taylorship and tinkerer (she's got a cat-notion and wants sumthin to strip).

I find the ears get more structure, if you make em from the top-part of a plastic-bottle. We got this Orange-juice from Lidl here in Germany and its bottles are made of thicker plastic and on top is a big button. I used the dremel to grind the cone of the bottle and cut into three pieces and took two of them as ear-bases. The bottles cone is formed round and so i got ears that are pointing forward. I put rubber foam on the back, cut it out for the motors and cut the edges down. Now i got sum garfield-like ears...

abetusk (author)Luziviech2012-11-16

Do you happen to have a picture of the plastic bottle you're using? Maybe a link to a picture of the container?

goldenshuttle (author)2012-11-14

neat work. and your assistant is hot cat.

pensativo (author)2012-04-26

There is an option that will keep you from having to do some of the wiring. I found this a few months ago and I'm loving it for things like this.
It's a tiny servo controller that lets you run scripts. It can run up to six servos, so two of headers on it can be converted to inputs for hooking up switches. :)

pensativo (author)pensativo2012-06-22

Okay, so this is what you want to do:
You get your little maestro board. It has six servo slots, which is perfect for this project. Use the first four slots for the ears (0 and 1 for the left ear and 2 and 3 for the right ear). Next you will designate the remaining two slot for the control switches. Buy the "partial kit" and just populate the first four servo header positions and the two pin power header. Reference the manul for the locations and specs on these. You designate servos and inputs like switches in the sofware . Once you connect the board to your PC via the USB you will see how to configure it pretty easily. I say to leave the last two headers of so you can solder the switch wires right to the board. Te me that would be easier. All you need to set up the switches is two 1-100k resistors for pull-ups in order to keep from getting false signals. Check here for info on hooking up the switches. Now, all you have to do is plug in all your servos and the battery. Just make sure that you don't plug in a battery that is of a voltage that is too high for your servos, they won't last you very long if you do. I suggest that you write down what channels you use for what as in 0-left ear up/down, 1-left ear left/right and so forth. Now you can center all your servos and save those settings. You are now ready to start scripting your cat gestures. It's all loop based, so what you want to do is write subs for each gesture and have the button events jump you into the appropriate sub. Let me know how it works out for you. Tweaking the scripting is my favorite part, so I won't spoil that for you. :)

Owlflight (author)pensativo2012-11-01

Thanks for posting this! I liked his use of servos, but I had a different project in mind. Your link looks like an excellent place to go.


JCLSD (author)2012-08-27

Hello there,

I found your k-ears pretty sweet, so I gave it a try!
But I have no response from the push button, and the servos are only moving when puutting the power ON, kind of random, and they don't come back in a "home position"...
I checked the circuitry several time, continuity and all, and as it's very simple I was asking myself: could it be a program error?, I'm very new at controllers, but I had the very same message than on your screenshot when putting the .ihex files on the t13...

any idea would be more than welcome, I can't wait to have those on my head :-)


abetusk (author)JCLSD2012-09-23


Sorry for the late response. I hope you worked everything out. If you didn't, feel free to message me and I'd be happy to work through the problems with you.

If you do message me, if you could provide some pictures of your setup so that I can see what you're doing, along with the specific pars you're using (servo motor model, avr chip, etc.), I'd appreciate it.

Luziviech (author)2012-09-21

hm, i rather neglected buying brackets. I used steel band, left over from my scissor-hand-projects. You can find it at any building site, just look out for material spaces: the palettes are mainly secured with such bands and it's lying around after the workers opened the palettes with metal shears.

G1rlsgotrhythm (author)2012-06-24

Awesomesauce! :3 I'm trying to make this in half term as I want to learn electronics. It's very cute, I love it!

pensativo (author)2012-06-22

Hey, check page 2 of this doc. Feline facial expressions.
You and your beautiful model hit it out of the park!
I love this project.

tbraywater (author)2012-05-30

You have a target board hooked up to the USBTinyISP (see ).

I'm trying my hand at this, but I have *no* electronic skills... could you please point me to a diagram for this target board?

Many thanks.

abetusk (author)tbraywater2012-06-01

The target board is just mapping the appropriate pin on the ATTiny13 to a 6 pin header. I've found this page to be quite good for a general description and help:

That page has the standard 6 pin header layout and the pinout (with the appropriate pins) for the ATTiny13 chip.

You might also want to check out this instructable:

It looks like he made a cradle for the ATTiny13 that's small and you could probably deduce how to make one of your own from that.

One note of caution: The programmer from ladyada, that you have to assemble, needs a jumper instead of a resistor in order to work properly. In her 'Solder it!' instructions here:

There's a step where she says:

"If you are using the UsbtinyISP with a SpokePOV kit, install R4 and R7 (1.5K) as well. If not you may want to switch these resistors for jumpers (see the second photo for a 'finished' shot) as it will mean that target boards with loaded pins can be programmed."

Since you'll be using the UsbtinyISP as a stand alone programmer and not for the SpokePOV, you'll need to replace those resistors for jumpers.

If you have any more problems, feel free to private message me and I'd be happy to help if I can.

Good luck and remember to post pictures!

PhantomX999 (author)2012-05-20

ok, this is my first electrical build ever and i need to ask. how do you charge the power pack?

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