About: Hi to all! I create technological couture; with a background in fashion design combined with engineering, science and interaction design, I create systems around the body that tend towards artificial intellige…

Perhaps like myself, you’ve owned a cat — or more likely, been owned by one. You know the joy that cats can bring, even when they’re deliciously obnoxious. What is it about cats that captures our hearts and enslaves us through their charm? Let's find out in a very physical way by becoming one! With these DIY #ElectronicKittyEars

I created them as part of a workshop, during MAKE MUNICH, for KIDS! And with my friend Joshua Brooks of AutoDesk EAGLE last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching an 'How to' Workshop at the Faire making Electronic Kitty Ears. It's the first iteration of the cat ears so feel free to redesign, remix, reprogram or even reverse engineer anything and everything that I am about to tell you! <3

- - -

For this tutorial (#catorial ^^) you need:

- 3D printed CAT EAR headset which you can find on the next page step #1
- the custom PCB (either mill it or order one at OSHPARK / AISLER) step #2
- a set of Electronic parts found on the BOM in step #3

To program the ATtiny you need; an Arduino (UNO), Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors - 10uF/25V (1x), jumping wires (M/M)

Tools you need: soldering iron, soldering wick, pliers, wire + your computer with Arduino installed.

- - -


Step 1: ORDER or PRINT Your #ElectronicKittyEars (3DP)

The Kitty Ears can be obtained in a few ways, which you can choose from down;

1. Get them from Shapeways [EASY]

Just CLICK THIS LINK and order them!

[SLS printing can be expensive but the quality is absolutely the best. But just to point out - I don't take a markup myself (meaning - I don't receive money for this!) the costs are printing costs only]

2. Print them yourself [MEDIUM]

I added a link (.STL file) download the file and import it to the 3D printer of your choice to 3D print the headset yourself. NOTE - you might need to tweak, cut or align the design a bit to be printed well. As the design is originally created for SLS printing (powder printing) alike Shapeways would print it in for you. If it worked on your machine - let me know or share your results!

3. Redesign them with fusion360 [EXPERT]

In fusion360 - AutoDesk's NEW freeform and solid modelling software you are able to import your file and customise from there. Whether you are new to CAD or already using parametric CAD software, fusion360 can be cool for you to look into. On Instructables you can find some tutorials (like building a lamp) on how to work with this piece of software.

But back to the #ElectronicKittyEars - get the .STL (cats_ears) underneath this text, and then CLICK HERE to go to the fusion360 site to download and install fusion360 on your computer as a free trial.

Step 2: ORDER Your PCB (Printed Circuit Board)

Now - the circuit board will host the BRAIN of your design (the chip - in this case the ATTiny) amongst some other of the electronics. There are a few ways you can get the CUSTOM PCB's created with AUTODESK EAGLE;

1. Get them from OSHPARK (if you are in USA)
HERE is the link to order the PCB's from OSHpark (3 boards for $13.20)

2. Get them from Aisler (if you are in Europe)
HERE is the link to order the PCB's from Aisler (3 boards for E13,77) - (incl. parts E20.30)

3. Mill them out yourself (instructions on next page)
If you have an mill you can mill them out, we succeeded using an Othermill, the file is a bit different for this (see next step. I would say - this would be an easy solution and by def. the cheapest one around. So it might be worth checking your local Makerspace, Hackerspace, Fablab or TechShop if they have an mill that you can

4. Be creative: draw your circuit with conductive ink!
This is an expertise question, but if you use conductive ink you might be able to draw the traces out by hand. Either way - if this experiment works out - let me know! ^^ #ElectronicKittyEars on twitter!

Step 3: EXTRA: Want to MILL Them Out?

You can skip this step when you are ordering your boards, but might you want to mill them out yourself - see ZIP file.

NOTE: since there are no plated through-holes, we added a large through-hole "test point" under the ATTiny to route one of the signals out. So a wire will need to be added through that hole and soldered on both sides if hole plating is not present!!

Step 4: ORDER Your Electronic Parts (DigiKey)

For this project you need [BOM per pair]

Vendor (Qty)P/N

Digikey (8) C512A-WNN-CZ0B0151-ND (8 leds in total each pair)
Digikey (1) ATTINY85-20PU-ND (1 ATtiny in total each pair)
Digikey (1) BAT-HLD-001-THM-ND (1 battery holder each pair)
Digikey (2) 10.0AYTB-ND (2 resistors 10 Ohm each pair)
Digikey (1) P8010S-ND (1 button each pair)

Digikey (1) P189-ND (1 3V coin cell battery each pair*)

* feel free to take more coin cell batteries for if they empty out ;)

Step 5: GOT ALL? LET'S GO! :D

So - by this step:

* you got your 3D printed CAT EAR headset
* you got the custom PCB (either milled or ordered)
* you got your Electronics (found in BOM)




The first step is to take all elements and put them together on the board in the correct way so it looks like attached layout. NOTE that the both boards are not similar; they both are occupied differently:

The left boards has the:

- 4 LED's
- 2 resistors
- battery holder
- ATtiny

The right board has the:

- 4 leftover LED's
- the button

Step 7: BUTTON 1x

You take your button and gently push it in the trace so it holds, the button goes on the left ear (so not the one with the battery holder)

Step 8: LED 8x

Next up: push in the LED with the longer leg DOWN (see picture) make sure the LED stays close to the board, to hold it in place before soldering you can spread the legs of the LED. This way it doesn't wiggle ;)


The resistors (10 Ohm) only go into the right board, the board that hosts the battery. The orientation of the resistors doesn't matter; you can put them in either way.

The battery holder you can also place: make sure the sloth of the battery points towards you (!!) otherwise you are not able to slip the battery in there once you soldered everything. Here her orientation IS key! ;)


Now the fun part: make sure you have your soldering iron, and put it on to heat up, got some pliers, soldering tin, and maybe some other tools on your desk to make sure you don't have to walk away from a hot soldering iron to get them! ;)

To solder: put your soldering iron first on the (gold) plates to heat them up, and then put some soldering tin - this would smooth your process since it will melt right away.

Last step: make sure all the gold plates are covered and cut all of you left over wire short so it cannot short-circuit anywhere and thus - destroy your circuitry!

Step 11: Programming the ATtiny

Ready? No - for sure not: You're missing your BRAIN! This is where the ATtiny comes in: the microcontroller.

ATtiny is a cheap and powerful alternate when u don't need too many PWM pins. Since ATtiny85 is just a microcontroller we need a Arduino (Uno) to program. Otherwise our circuitry would be wayyy too big ;)

Let's do it!

Make sure you have ARDUINO.CC installed on your computer (it's free // open source) or are working on a computer with the latest version of Arduino installed! Install ATtiny support on here if it's non discoverable.


Attached is the Kitty_Ears.ino file - download this and place this in your 'Arduino' folder


To program the ATtiny you need; an Arduino (UNO), Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors - 10uF/25V (1x), jumping wires (M/M) - follow THIS INSTRUCTABLES TO KNOW HOW using the code that is attached to this step.

- - -

This is another way but you need a few more parts for it 'Program an ATtiny With Arduino' For this you will need: [explained in tutorial] but this way you have an LED indicator.

- Arduino
- Breadboard
- ATtiny85 (or ATtiny45)
- 10uF 16V electrolytic capacitor
- 220ohm 1/4 watt resistor
- solid core hookup wire

Make sure to connect the Arduino to the ATtiny as follows:

Arduino +5V ---> ATtiny Pin 8
Arduino Ground ---> ATtiny Pin 4
Arduino Pin 10 ---> ATtiny Pin 1
Arduino Pin 11 ---> ATtiny Pin 5
Arduino Pin 12 ---> ATtiny Pin 6
Arduino Pin 13 ---> ATtiny Pin 7

After this with the 'Kitty_Ears.ino'; upload the sketch to your Arduino as you would any other sketch.
[If your new to Arduino, this would be a fun project to try and 'MAKE A LED BLINK']


Step 12: SOLDER the BRAIN to the BOARD! ^^ But NOTE the DOT!

Next up once you flashed in the animation for the LED, you can solder it directly to the board if you want!

NOTE the orientation!! [IMPORTANT] - there is a white dot on the PCB, it corresponds with the little dot/dent in the ATtiny - align them! So they both point the same direction.

Solder ahead! Make sure the tip of your soldering iron is clean! Since the legs are pretty close together ;)


IF CORRECT - the next step what you can do is put the battery into the right ear and see if it flashes!

There are 3 animations in the chip: a chase, a glow and a twinkle, which will be followed by a short time-out [so don't think it's broken, when t's just resting;)] >> if this is allright you can wire the two ears together so you have access to the on/off button! :)

Step 14: PLACE Into the HEADSET and CUSTOMISE!

Put them back into the headset (align the wire in the piece between the two ears) I personally keep them loose in the headset so I can take them out and change the battery. Another smart thing to do is to extend the button with an wire that you can mount on the side of the headset so it's easier reachable (or model a hole!).


And why leave these ears WHITE (?) no need! Get some fluff, make them fluffy, or take a marker and customise your ears to your style! Let's make our pawed friends proud <3

Step 15: SHARE // TWEET Under #ElectronicKittyEars

What I would love is if you did finish and am happy with your results that you make a CATTY picture and tweet it to me under #AnoukWipprecht and also #ElectronicKittyEars so I can see and repost how #BADASS you guys are!




* Disclamer: NO Kittens, Cats and other [friendly] felines got hurt through the making of this #ElectronicCatEars Instructable!

Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017

3 People Made This Project!


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    Game Design: Student Design Challenge
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    For the Home Contest
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5 years ago

Hi, you included a link to Eagle, but not a link the BRD or SCH files. Am I missing something?


5 years ago

No schematic?


5 years ago

Very pretty! I told my kids that the future of clothing is exemplified by your work.