Realistic, Animatronic Lion Mask with stereo night vision and amplified hearing

Picture of Realistic, Animatronic Lion Mask with stereo night vision and amplified hearing
This is the full step by step on building a realistic lion mask with moving jaw
with stereo night vision/color vision system, and amplified hearing augmentation.

This system was first line prototyped in this mask, Others have been made since then
such as the wolves and bear that can be seen on my site along with all my other work at

Lion of the sun

To build this system takes both art and technology. the first part of this Instructable will deal with the
tear down and rebuild of the video glasses into stereo units. There is a huge amount of information
on the whole build. If anyone has questions you can email me through my site and I will try and answer when I can.

Last page of this build has videos for your enjoyment, including demo of how my jaw systems work.

So sit back, this is going to be a long one. and I hope you enjoy this build.
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Step 1: Teardown and rebuild of the video glasses

Picture of Teardown and rebuild of the video glasses
Okay so we start with 2 I-Theater video glasses, these are a dual TFT display system. Units come with a driver system with an internal LI-Poly battery with an average runtime of 8-10 hours. these units run about 250.00 -300 each on ebay

Step 2: Continued teardown of I-theater glasses

Picture of Continued teardown of I-theater glasses
Hmmm, My sense is that whoever designed these are a Star Trek fan

The basic premise here is to take 2 of these units to make one stereo vision system.
each eye has its own micro TFT display , that we want to drive separately.

Step 3: Units opened up

Picture of Units opened up
Breaking the units apart was pretty simple, 4 screws and the cover comes off revealing the driver board and tft display units. Look like this is going to be a straight forward build. Each display has its own ribbon cable so turning this into a stereo vision system looks pretty straight forward. each lcd screen has its own ribbon cable which makes things pretty easy.

Step 4: I theater tear down cont..

Picture of I theater tear down cont..
Large center connector is the input from the power supply and converter. the two smaller ones are outputs to the earphones
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Mikki G.W1 hour ago

Waow, I'm really amazed! This is some very impressive work!

mmcgartland2 months ago
JohnnyA13 months ago

Solion how much would it cost for you to make one for me so I can give it to my son for Christmas.

maeiounj6 months ago

Do you have tips to rigg this for a quad suit instead? Im making steven's as part my plan.

superriku1 year ago
lazybird191 year ago
Anybody else think of Luna? :)
Astonishing. Astonishing. Astonishing.
SherpaDoug1 year ago
For daytime use wouldn't it be easier to just use mirrors to adjust the eye spacing instead of all the electronics?
Solion (author)  SherpaDoug1 year ago
Yes and no , In this case it is also to allow for night vision with IR illuminator and the new systems now can connect android . raspberry pi for augmented reality
Solion, I've been a fan of yours for YEARS. Thank you for sharing this instructable!
Partybot1 year ago
Amazing job! I love the blend of sculpting and technology. I always try to span the two in my costumes. The mesh and foam you used seemed to work great. Could you post a link to a specific product similar to what you used?
nature_1 year ago
Very awesome. How do you know this stuff so well?!:D
Solion (author)  nature_1 year ago
I was a mechanical engineer before I was an Artist. I built robots for battlebots and worked as network/hardware engineer for IBM. I am now full time working on my art . You can see some of my newer stuff here
nature_ Solion1 year ago
Great! Art is such a wonderful thing... I'm entering the clay contest with a how-to on sculpting a clay autumn dinner; pumpkins and all!
nature_ Solion1 year ago
Great! Art is such a wonderful thing... I'm entering the clay contest with a how-to on sculpting a clay autumn dinner; pumpkins and all!
nature_1 year ago
Very awesome. How do you know this stuff so well?!:D
KenSFX1 year ago
Amazing work with a superb final product.
I'm inspired to try something similar! Thank you for posting this!
What an amazing instructable!One question though: I looked online and i cant seem to find the i-movie glasses you specify. There are just a bunch of 3D ones and ones for iphones. Have the makers gone out of business, or, if not, where do you get the glasses from?
Solion (author) 2 years ago
Teeth are a plastic set from taxidermy supply , but I have my own molds now and it allows me to make a much better looking lion overall since I can actually carve a lion skull from foam to build off from. here is an updated lion .
wildword2 years ago
this is amazing, i was just wondering where did you manage to get the teeth from?
the only ones i can find are plaster replica's
McChicken2 years ago
What a sexy beast.
Really realistic and well-made. Nothing close to store bought--- perfect construction and helpful instructions. Great job!
avanbibber3 years ago
chrisre cat3 years ago
this could be perfect if you add some small servos to the ears and snout and some soft flex sensors behind the ears and under the eyes to make the ears twitch and the snout snarl
zack2473 years ago
very, very cool, the addition of night vision means you can keep wearing the mask even after the sun has gone down, but i want to know, how did you make it so the jaw moves with your mouth?

5*s man, 5*s.
dsonley4 years ago
thats amazing. would do that if i had the money, haha there awsome makses.

have you thought about using old camcorder digital viewfinders? there more like £30 for the pair rather than £400

also you should add more leds to take advantage of the ir camera i think,
Hawk5154 years ago
could use the optics to make splinter cell goggles
bornkilr4 years ago
What kind of fur is that? And where can you get it?
Try this place:
They are expensive, but super-awesome high-quality furs they offer.
So this halloween will we be seeing a body as well?
Dayum! This is intense!
DJ Radio4 years ago
I spot a reference to Halo in this ible.  (number of steps)
I'm sure that was unintentional, but nice observation.
Of course it is, this is the longest instructable on the site so far.
Opcom4 years ago
my hat is off to you for an accomplisment of technology and art in harmony. For my part I always wanted to convert a motorcycle helmet, (or even just buy a PVS-7 for my kevlar pot) but i'm not an artist enough to make such a great looking mask. A good choice the lion, the king of cats with his super senses, and you made the king of masks!
chrisre cat4 years ago
do you think reinforceing and modifieing this to make a motorcyle helmet is a good idea
anres3214 years ago
WTF this is the longest instructable ever !! 117 steps but the result is great !! 5*
sabbysayshi4 years ago
im contemplating on the jaw system.. can you make an ible or explain how that is done? thank you
dormotavian4 years ago
arturbo4 years ago
Before you buy iTheater glasses: I ordered a pair of iTheater glasses (now half-price) from a seller on Ebay, only to find that they changed the way the TFT screens are powered. Rather than a hard-wired hot and ground from the board to the TFT (made by MicroEmissive Displays), the power is diverted through the flexible ribbon cable! Imagine my dismay. There is no way I can find to power both TFTs from one board, no matter the configuration. I'm considering using both pairs of TFTs, with the screens I don't need hidden off to the side maybe... Definitely a expensive disappointment. Here is an article I found while searching for datasheets and solutions. Thanks for this amazing tutorial. I made one myself last year and it worked brilliantly for everything I wanted.
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