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  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:



 
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Step 1: Tools and materials

Tools:
  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 (http://www.harborfreight.com/professional-4-speed-rotary-tool-kit-40457.html)
  Drill: $18.99 at Harbor Freight Tools (http://www.harborfreight.com/3-8-eighth-inch-variable-speed-reversible-drill-3670.html)
  AVR Programmer: USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit from adafruit.com $22.00 (http://www.adafruit.com/products/46)
  Soldering Iron
  Wire strippers
  Wire cutters
  Flex tubing: $2.88 from WalMart

Materials:
  ATTiny13: $1.09 from mouser.com (http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Atmel/ATtiny13V-10PU/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvu0Nwh4cA1wUVlLgw9m2DPt6IffusRY5Y%3d)
  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 dealextreme.com, suntek.com and ebay.
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__9549__Turnigy_TG9e_9g_1_5kg_0_10sec_Eco_Micro_Servo.html
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__662__HXT900_9g_1_6kg_12sec_Micro_Servo.html
  Proto Board:  $3.19 from Radio Shack (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102846#)
  Wire: Black and Red are good choices for colors
  Pushbutton:  I like the sub mini pc mount pushbuttons (4 for $1.00) (http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PB-126/SUB-MINI-PC-MOUNT-PUSHBUTTON/1.html)
  1k resistor: (brown black red)
  Solder
  LiPo battery: Anything that will be able to supply 3A worth of current.  Here's a good choice from hobbyking for $5.33:
   http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__9276__Turnigy_800mAh_2S_20C_Lipo_Pack.html
  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: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__8247__Turnigy_2S_3S_Balance_Charger_Direct_110_240v_Input.html ($11.44)
  DC-DC regulator: $4.90 from hobby king (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__10312__Turnigy_5A_8_26v_SBEC_for_Lipo_.html)
  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) (http://factorydirectcraft.com/catalog/products/2346_1302_2533_2297-21165-1_black_plastic_headbands_12pcs.html)
  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:
  Grinder
  Sewing Machine
  Black insulating tape
  Sand Paper

Step 2: Mounting the base onto the headband

Picture of Mounting the base onto the headband
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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

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
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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
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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: http://upverter.com/abetusk/2ff4634ff64db304/Kears/

Step 6: Programming the ATTiny13

Picture of Programming the ATTiny13
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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: https://github.com/abetusk/kears/blob/master/kears.ihex.

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

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.  servodatabase.com (http://www.servodatabase.com/) has a lot of information about the servos commonly encountered, including the HXT900 (http://www.servodatabase.com/servo/hextronik/hxt900) and the TG9e(http://www.servodatabase.com/servo/turnigy/tg9e).  A useful resource I found was here(http://www.societyofrobots.com/actuators_servos.shtml) 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(http://www.atmel.com/Images/doc2535.pdf).

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

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

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

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

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!

PhantomX9993 years ago
ok, this is my first electrical build ever and i need to ask. how do you charge the power pack?
abetusk (author)  PhantomX9993 years ago
You'll need to get a LiPo battery charger. The above build uses a 2s 7.4V batte
ry pack, so you'll need a charger that can handle a 2s battery pack. Hobby King
has one here:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__8247__Turnigy_2S_3S_Balance_Charger_Direct_110_240v_Input.html

but you can always shop around yourself by putting in 'LiPo battery charger' in
either Amazon or Google.
ya, might have wanted to added that in ''JIC''. the only other thing i might change is put all the stuff together that you got from hobby king. so when people order the parts as they go, not to put out multiple orders and having to pay for more than one shipping price.
ReCreate3 years ago
Even though I'm a furry, I have a little bit of difficulty getting what this is for... What is this for? O_o

Pretty brilliant regardless. c:
d0vr3 years ago
You list where i can find everything but an assistant? Where can I find one like yours and how much do they cost? (Can they be persuaded with animatronic cat ears?)
wow these will go great with my brothers cat bell i have to make these for his birthday he will love them and maybe he wont beat me up for an hour yayayayayayayay!!!!
thanks
p3av8or3 years ago
This is my first time using perfboard, and I'm having trouble figuring out what bridges you've made on the other side of the board. Sorry for the noob questions, but I don't have an electronics background. Thanks!
abetusk (author)  p3av8or3 years ago
I used the proto board I got from RadioShack (online here: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102846# ) and not perfboard. The main difference is that the copper traces on the proto board model a breadboard whereas the perfboard has isolated copper pads per hole. I've found perfboard to be messy and clumsy so that's why I used the proto board.

I would suggest getting a simple setup running on some breadboard, i.e. connecting the power to the regulator, the regulator to the circuit, wiring at least one servo out of the micro, connecting the button and testing before proceeding further. Once that's done, you'll have a good understanding of how to connect components together. You can use either protoboard or perfboard for connections, I just prefer protoboard as I find it easier to work with.

Send me a private message if you get stuck and I'll do what I can to help.
rhoult3 years ago
I'm a little confused here. Is there a simpler diagram for wiring this? i'm building this for a friend and am stuck on this step. Is there any help you could offer?
abetusk (author)  rhoult3 years ago
The above is a simple circuit showing the connection between the microcontroller, the servos and button. It doesn't include the regulator, battery or connection thereof. There should be four lines coming out of the ATTiny13, each going to the signal line of the corresponding servo. One line out of the ATTiny13 is attached to a button with a pullup resistor.

Each of the servos needs to be connected to the power line and grounded, along with the button, pullup resistor and microcontroller. The power should be from the regulator that provides a steady 5V from a lithium ion battery. The analogy is a wall wart: You plug in the wall wart into the wall socket then plug in your device from the wall wart to provide the power you need for your device. The 2 cell lithium ion battery is like wall socket power and the regulator is like the wall wart.

The 2 cell lithium ion battery is needed to provide the amperage necessary for the servos and the regulator is needed to provide a steady 5v and service the amperage draw needed by the microcontroller and servos (mostly the servos). Using a 9v or AAs might work (through the regulator, of course) but I've run into problems, I think because the amperage requirements of the servos is too heavy.

To figure out what color wire from the servo corresponds to power, signal and ground, I found the following web site useful: http://www.societyofrobots.com/actuators_servos.shtml .

I take it you're a beginner to electronics and so this stuff might be a little confusing. I hope the above addressed the confusion you had, but if it didn't, feel free to send me a private message to discuss this further.

Good luck and make sure to show pictures after you're done!
Wow ' but I had this technology for years and the parts I use don't exist . There all hand built drivers and are in all of my suits plus the tail even moves and lights up at tip also I'm glad there's others out there who are in to animatronics and just not me , Keep up the good work . Mountain Blue Fox Joe also crazyjoe1952 .
rhoult3 years ago
This might sound a little noobish, but what's the black box that you hooked the microcontroller up to to calibrate it?
abetusk (author)  rhoult3 years ago
I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean. The calibration step that appears in this instructable whereby the servos are aligned on the headband? Or do you mean some other type of calibration?
rhoult abetusk3 years ago
sorry, i found out what it was i was inquiring about, but how did you wired the micrcontroller? I'm a little inexperienced in the whole microcontroller thing...
Uptonb3 years ago
Congrats on being a finalist, and good luck!
jeanlafete3 years ago
A+ on Innovation! Your assistant is a doll and loves the expressions she does with the ears. Love to see more and how well the ears hold up. I would love to built, unfortunate I don't have the free time:-( Keep up the great work!
Thank-you!
Oscar19863 years ago
This looks awesome. I went to buy the USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit, but it says it may or may not work with Windows 7. I have Windows 7 Home premium do you know if it'll work? or should I look for another one? and if so which one do you recommend?
abetusk (author)  Oscar19863 years ago
I believe that Adafruit is just hedging their bets and that it's not so much that it might or might not work on Windows 7, but that they haven't tested it on Windows 7 and can't cofirm it's functioning as expected. I just did a brief search on the forums to see if anybody had any problems with Windows 7 functioning with their USBtinyISP and it looks to be alright. You should do your own homework to confirm but I would bet that it would function fine on your system.


If you do end up going with Adafruit's USBtinyISP, make sure to follow the build instructions here ( http://www.ladyada.net/make/usbtinyisp/ ) with special attention to step 11 here ( http://www.ladyada.net/make/usbtinyisp/solder.html ) where you need to replace the resistors R4 and R7 by a jumper (see also http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=15045 ). When I first bought the USBtinyISP, I found this instructable to be helpful as well ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Ghetto-Development-Environment/ ).


There are alternatives but I haven't used them so I can't attest to their reliability. Here are some li
nks, in no particular order:


http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/avr-usb-programmer-p-696.html
http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1300
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9231


You will need to make a target board for the target chips. You can see my very rough one in the 'Programming the ATTiny13' step of this instructable. You might be able to find premade target boards, if you wanted, by searching around. Just make sure that they're ATTiny13 compatible.


Here are some links that I found helpful when first starting out:


http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/avrtargetboards
http://www.ladyada.net/learn/avr/programming.html


And just for completeness, a link on avrdude and programming:
http://www.ladyada.net/learn/avr/avrdude.html


and a tutorial on avr-gcc:
http://iamsuhasm.wordpress.com/tutsproj/avr-gcc-tutorial/


I've had good luck with the USBtinyISP. Adafruit is really good about responding to problems on their f
orums and I've been happy with mine. It may seem a little daunting at first but all you're really doing
is solerding a kit (at worst) and connecting point 'A' to point 'B'.


There is also the route of using an Arduino with an ISP shield to program your AVR's. EvilMadScience has one here ( http://evilmadscience.com/productsmenu/tinykitlist/253 ). There's also some instructables on the subject here ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Turn-Your-Arduino-Into-an-ISP/ ) and a tutorial here ( http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ArduinoISP ). If you're feeling more adventurous, here's a HackADay article on it as well ( http://hackaday.com/2009/07/15/avr-isp-programming-via-arduino/ ). I haven't done this myself but maybe this would be easier for someone more familiar with Arduino's.


Good luck!
ignatzart3 years ago
My granddaughter and I are building these for her next Anime-con. I truly appreciate your clear instructions. We wondered if we could use submicro servos to cut down the bulk? We are new to this stuff so I don't know how to match the bits. What are the specs we would look for to substitute servos?
One thing though, the source you give for the ATTiny13 has a minimum order of 940 pieces YIKES! So we got one from Digikey.
Jen
abetusk (author)  ignatzart3 years ago
Thanks for pointing that out! I just picked on from the list that was a DIP and was cheap. I've changed the link so that it points to an ATTiny13 that has a minimum order of one from Mouser.

You have to be careful with the sub micros, they're really awesomely tiny but I think their torque is significantly reduced. Either the HXT900 or the TG9e have 1.5-1.6 Kg-cm torque whereas the SO361 sub micro that hobbyking sells ( http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=3715 ) has only .3 Kg-cm torque (or so). That's 5 times as less!

I've used the SO361 sub micro in a bunny mask costume with movable ears out of paper and fur (and glue), It mostly worked but I found that sometimes the motors weren't powerful enough to overcome the momentum of a moving ear, causing it to overcompensate and then start to go back and forth effectively making the ear 'wobble' (at least that was my theory on why it was wobbling).

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try the sub-micros, I would suggest at the very least using some sort of plastic arm instead of the metal bracket and either taking out middle portions of unused acrylic or just making the top front facing ear out of wire. I think the code should work without any change.

If you guys run into any problems and need help feel free to give me a message and I'll do what I can to help! If you could post some pictures after your build is complete, I would also appreciate it.

Good luck!
duodreamer3 years ago
This is the cutest thing I've seen all week, I've shared it with others! Great use of the micro servos. I have one contribution: replace the single pushbutton with a small joystick, like the type used in Playstation controllers. You could use the dual axis potentiometers on the joystick along with its internal pushbutton for pre-programmed positions or "live" control. SparkFun even sells these little units: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9032

abetusk (author)  duodreamer3 years ago
This would require going up to a micro that had more input lines as that joystick needs 2 A/D lines and an input pin in order to have the full range of function. It's probably desirable to go to a beefier micro anyway as the internal RC clock on the ATTiny13 is a little imprecise causing the servos to jitter a bit.

Maybe I'll do this for "version 2.0".
arempert3 years ago
Do you think these servo arms would be strong enough to move around ears longer (or, essentially, heavier) than these cat ears?
abetusk (author)  arempert3 years ago
I used servos that are HXT900 compatible. Using those as a reference servo and looking at the servodatabase page ( http://www.servodatabase.com/servo/hextronik/hxt900 ) you can see that the HXT900 provides 1.60 kg-cm torque, so you can use that to calculate how much weight it can move based on the arm length.

Depending on what servos you actually get, their torque rating may be different than the value given for the HXT900, so you might need to experiment.
badmoonryzn3 years ago
I have been looking for years for a quiet set of mini servos and the only things I have found were a kind of mini magnetic linear actuator servo motor that cost a bloody fortune. Like 150 each. I found them on some electric motor/linear actuator stores on several sites on the Internet. I have a couple of the things but they are to big for these applications, but they are dead quiet. You might be able to find some in old printers and other devices that use them, some are very small but the control cards and code are a pain. Maybe slow down the motors and pack the gears with some kind of goo, but then they would not last long. Thanks for the idea and list of goods. This is a very cool device!! Nice job! I can't wait for my cats to see the things. They already think I'm nuts, but I have something they don't........... Kitty treats!...............Catnip..............FOOD!
X413 years ago
for the love of god, please make a animatronic cat tail!!!!
somebody already did several years ago: http://www.wolftronix.com/howto.htm
bob2023 years ago
Very Cool !!
YendorZ3 years ago
An interface easier than an EEG may be an accelerometer. Head tilts and gestures could control the ears pretty well, methinks...
dawg0653 years ago
john candy had something similar in the movie"space balls".yes i know they were dog ears.but still.i still think what you've done is really quite good.
rifakungen3 years ago
HAHA! Now THAT is one epic little project! :D Love it! good job!
mpinner3 years ago
really nice job! im considering what muscle wire would add to this.... likely less battery life, less control, but far more quiet.

any experience with this?

what kind of battery life have you been getting?

built any moving tails yet?

thanks!

-matt
alzie mpinner3 years ago
I have tried to use muscle wire on a biz project, and
its difficult to do anything serious with.
Efficiency is only like 0.5%, and
you have to use up a bit of it fighting a return spring.
You must use a return spring to get push pull action, otherwise
it only pulls.
Thats why you dont see a lot of serious apps out there for it.

We gave up and went to a small hobby motor / gearbox.
abetusk went the right way.
abetusk (author)  mpinner3 years ago
I have no experience with muscle wire. I have had a lot of suggestions to use it but I'm just not sure it's the panacea that people think it is. It's definitely worth checking out so maybe I'll get to it someday.

The servos that I use are reported to draw 750mA maximum (check out some analysis done here: http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/bhabbott/Servo.html ). Assuming all four servos are drawing at maximum continuously, that's 3A (thus why I chose the 3A DC-DC regulator). The battery I use is 900mAh so that gives an approximate lifetime, if all four servos are in continuous use, of 18 minutes. So, at worst, lifetime should be about 20 minutes, at best maybe an hour or two? I have not done real testing in this regard so I'm not sure what kind of battery life you can expect.

As to the moving tails, all the videos online that I've seen don't give the amount of expressiveness that I would want and I don't see how to make them any better.
mirrorspock3 years ago
Very Cool, I'm working on a similar project, only I plan on using an ECG sensor to detect the mood of the wearer.
I have the hardware ready, just needed some inspiration on how to actually build the ears!
zack2473 years ago
oh WOW!
it would be really awesome to do something like this on a fursuit!
smmiller5063 years ago
Over on github, I saw that you had a schematic posted up (Kears.png) and noticed a small error - on "U5" in the top left corner of the schematic, the power lines are swapped. You have positive going to ground and negative receiving +5 VDC.
abetusk (author)  smmiller5063 years ago
Thanks, I've fixed this. I rotated the servo schematic around and forgot to adjust my thinking accordingly. I'm actually using upverter.com to do the schematic ( http://upverter.com/abetusk/2ff4634ff64db304/Kears/ ) and it takes a little while before the change propagate through and are available for .png download. When it's available I'll update the instructable and the github repository.
witchdoc3 years ago
This is hilarious! I love it! And a really good build too. I'm quite impressed.
Yep. Winnar! Good stuff.