Introduction: Soft Robotic Mask


How to make a soft robotic, personally customized, silicone mask, that responds to your facial expressions!

This Post is based on Aposema; a Masters thesis project made by Adi Meyer, Sirou Peng and Silvia Rueda, as part of the interactive architecture lab in the Bartlett, supervised by Yuri Suzuki and Ruairi Glynn, 2017

For more information about Aposema visit our website and our Vimeo channel.

Step 1: 3D Scanning

All you need is a Camera and the person you wish to scan.

In a well lit room, take as many photos as possible of your model while they are sitting still.

download the free trial of Agisoft from here:

and follow this tutorial to compile the images into a fairly precise 3D model:

Export a Mesh file.

Step 2: Design the Shape of Your Mask

Import your Mesh into Zbrush

You can get a free trial of the software here:

You will only need to master a few simple tools in Zbrush to make this mask. There are many free tutorials available online.

First, you should clean your mesh:

Duplicate the sub-tool of your clean mesh and rename it.

Afterwards, mask the area of the model that you wish to make:

by holding down the Ctrl key and the left mouse button, and dragging it along the the area you wish to mask.

You can unmask areas by holding doan Ctrl + Alt and dragging the left mouse button along the the area you wish to unmask.

When finished, go to Visibility-> Hide pt, and then Geometry-> delete hidden.

After smoothing the edges and simplifying your mesh to your satisfaction, Export your mesh as an OBJ file.

Step 3: Design Your Inflation Pattern

Drag your file to Rhino and scale it so it is approximately real size.

Rhino has a 90 days free trial available.

Use Grasshopper, Millipede and Weaverbird to design the desired pattern.

Step 4: 3D Print Your Molds

Each mask is comprised of 2 layers: a base layer and the pattern layer, and each layer requires 2 molds.

Step 5: Cast the Silicone

Cast stiff silicone in your base layer and soft silicone in the pattern layer.

There are many brands available but this one is really good:

After the drying period, glue the 2 layers together with silicone glue.

Step 6: Responding to Facial Expressions

Program an Arduino Uno board to read your muscle sensors and actuate your water pumps or air pumps (depends what you want to use)

Step 7: Wear It!

Using skin safe silicone adhesive

glue the mask to your model's skin and wear it!

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