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Step 6: Giving Twitr_janus sight and hearing with a webcam eyeball

To allow Twitr_janus to react to its surroundings it needed to be able to sense them. The simplest way to do this was to use a webcam with a built-in mic. This enabled the puppeteer to remotely see and what Twitr_janus could see and hear.


Making Twitr_janus eyeball and video camera

The eyeballs are made from deodorant balls, which conveniently are hollow. As well as being easy to cut open, they are also rigid and do not deform if you cut bits off them. 

They also come with ready-made housings from the bottles they are contained in. These were cut off and glued into the back of the eye sockets of the puppet face mask. 

Eyeballs

Below you can see the exploded eyeball, the Microsoft LifeCam and the control rod. This is used to add leverage. Later the rods from the two eyes are jointed into a rig, that is attached to the servos to allow position-control...

@Twitr_janus' eyeball

To make Twitr_janus see, Skype was loaded onto the computer that was attached to the puppet head. Skype was signed into a specially set up account. Skype can be set to be woken up from standby and to connect to a call just by dialling it. You can also specify that only specified Skype contacts can do this.

The net effect was that it was possible to wake up Twitr_janus' webcam eyeball. The webcam also had a built-in microphone. This meant that it was possible to activate both sight and hearing remotely inside the puppet head from a remote location, as long as the control device had Skype loaded and was logged into an account with permission to activate the Twitr_janus Skype account.
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In this picture, the web cam is being tested by aiming it at the Arduino...

Twitr Janus and its eye

And here you can see an iPad (left) being used as a remote control. It is making a Skype call over the web to the computer (right) to which the eyeball is attached. The close up of the Arduino on the iPad is what the eyeball on the floor is pointed at (slightly dark, in the centre).

Twitr Janus  remote communication with Arduino board

Here you can see the webcam still in its original casing being tested for rotation clearance inside the face mask. You can also see the hot glue and the reinforcing plastic gauze used to provide strength.

Making Twitr_janus eyeball and video camera

Here are the two eyeballs inside the skull. They are fixed into a jointed parallogrammatic rig. The two control servos are visible.
  • the servo to the left of the picture inside the rig, causes left-right motion by shearing the rig parallelogram, which is partly made up of the eyeball control rods (as above).
  • the servo to the right is coupled to the rig via a flexible, but rigid bike cable, via which it controls up/down motion.
Twitr_janus eyeball servo construction



<p>Because you have the power over the latex, why not implementing facial expressions with electro-magnets? Use an Arduino Nano (or several clones) to gain space? Get a Raspberry Pi and use openCV for facial recognition? That's what I'm trying to do, thank you for the deodorant-ball trick :-)</p>
Creepy, But interesting...
Thanks - It is a bit creepy, but that's part of the fun. Puppets are always slightly unsettling.
Hey dude, I like creepy! I work in a haunted house in my town!
Haunted house? - that's pretty cool. You might like this video I made way back in 1996...<br> <iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PWNviKtQbqU" width="420"></iframe>
i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now! i must go an kill red tomatoes an green peppers now!
mmmm delicious <br>
Wow! That's really creepy, Reminds me of this deleted scene from a CHILDRENS MOVIE!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifeyKhxgHbA
God, yes. I've seen that. It is incredibly creepy!
BTW, I subscribed to you on Youtube! Have you heard of a show called Courage the Cowardly Dog?
Hi, I hadn't. Looks very silly, which is always a plus :)
Well it's not made anymore, but you can watch it on youtube... Some of the scenes are very creepy such as this: http://youtu.be/2QU-Kf7ZIYI
Thanks, yes I looked up a few. I also like PowerPuff girls which has the odd creepy bit, but is mainly just really really silly
Hey, That's old cartoon network for you! Man, I wish I could build amazing things like this, but I don't have the time, tools, or money.
That is so incredibly awesome! I want one!
Thanks - so is your drinking straw hands thing! <br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Spring-Loaded-Drinking-Straw-Hinges/
Cool, <br>Plus its great for Halloween night
cheers. it would be very funny to use to freak callers with. nice idea
Like using a cds cell when ever someone breaks the beam it activates it.
With Arduino, you can use pretty much any component to trigger physical activity.<br> You could ponder also on: <ul> <li> InfraRed/relay detector circuits from outside security lamps (recycle from old ones or buy a cheap one <li> proximity sensors so you can send different escalting messages as people approach - ha ha. You can buy these in component stores online real cheap </ul> Have fun!
That is absolutely terrifying. The most plausible thing I could imagine this horror born of your diseased imaginings saying is &quot;kill me&quot;. <br> <br>Excellent work.
ha ha - praise indeed! halfway through making this Prometheus came out and some parallels there too
Incredibly creepy, and I like it a lot. It gives me fantastic ideas for some sculptures I've been thinking about placing at my driveway gate. By the way, doesn't Janus mean &quot;twin&quot;? Maybe you should make a brother for your creature, or put a second face on him. That wouldn't be creepy at all! Kudos on your work!
If you want a quick and dirty way to do it, just use the Skype part of it. You can talk directly out of it's mouth from your remote phone/tablet/PC and hear back what they say so you can creep them out by being specific about what they are doing!!
Outstanding! That's exactly what I want. Thanks!
Great - hope it works out and glad to provide any ideas :) <br> <br>Another method is to make a translucent face mask and back-project a face onto it that moves - used in attractions like London Dungeon, but quite easy to do. just as freaky!
Also Janus is the Roman god of doorways and portals, etc. He usually has two faces so he can look in and out. I was considering two heads initially. double-creepy
So why not just give it a RESTful web interface and be done with it? Control it through REST commands and then you can easily interface it with anything on the web through HTTP requests.
A-ha - I knew a proper developer would pick me up on this. <br>Thanks - I confess what you're suggesting (or a variation on it) is what I was wanting to do. Ideally a web interface that displays to the puppeteer something useful as a UI (sliders for eye positions, independent text entry for spech, etc etc) and which has some elegant injection via API into the Google sheet was what I had initially fantasised about. <br> <br>What you're suggesting is no doubt better. All good stuff, but my brain has its paltry edges :) <br> <br>Any pointers to open source code examples that do the basics of what you're suggesting will be good for others to build on. <br> <br>Cheers
That is some cool stuff!
thanks. All of it is based on free stuff in open source communities, or on services that are fairly easy to piggyback (like Google)
VeryVeryVery Cool!!!!!!
thanks :)
There's an amazing quantity of information here. I'm thinking that something like this could be used as a remote presence. Have it on your office desk when you are working from home and you could have meetings with other staff by skype and they could interact with the puppet as if you were actually there?
Hey, thanks. Yes it took a few months to build, and quite a while to write up! <br> <br>It was intended to demonstrate some of the possibilities you mention. It is possible to do that, although it would need more work on the input interface. However, you could use direct Skype for talking, but Google for positioning (with a bit of work on making an api call directly into the spreadsheet with a real developer working on it, rather than my tinkering)
That's an excellent project, but, dang, that's one scary puppet!
Hey thanks. <br> <br>Lots of fun. <br>I quite like ceepy things - It can see and hear as well as speak and look at you - ha ha ha. <br> <br>You might also like my reading lamp: <br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-controlled-animatronic-wooden-head-readin/ <br>

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