Introduction: Furry Elephant

About: Hola! Thanks for stopping by, I love discovering interesting designs, products, and projects. I hope you like my projects, check more on my blog or follow me on twitter @qiulab. Thanks!

Furry Elephant is an introductory-level robot project that aims to introduce robotics to people in a more familiar and appealing way. The robot interacts with various objects and people to reflect its characteristics and personalities. I designed the project with the below considerations in mind; 

Affordability - Made from affordable materials
Interactivity - Interact with people and other objects
Attractive -  Cute and furryy design
Technology - Use simple technology to demonstrate difficult electronic concepts

This project was inspired by the Robobrrd project.

Step 1: Plan Your Robot

Brainstorm and sketch out the look you would like to have for your robot; finalize the types of interaction that your robot will have

Here are the list of materials you will need for the elephant:

Wood or cardboard: 40cm (width)  x 20 cm (height)  X 0.5cm (thickness)
2 Servo motors
3 Popsicle sticks
Wires of various thickness 
1 photo resistor
1 reed switch
1 magnet 

Step 2: Building the Body

• Using this template, laser-cut the body using either wood or cardboard
• Press-fit all the side pieces together, if you do not have the indicated thickness of wood or cardboard, you can reinforce the connections using a hot glue gun.
• The top and bottom pieces will be attached using magnets to allow easy attachment and removal.
• Glue magnets both to top and sides of the pieces according to where the top and sides will attach. Repeat for the bottom piece.
• Glue 3 popsicle sticks on the third slot within the body, this is where the servos will be attached.
• Cut out felt based on this template. Glue the felt onto the wood body that you just created
• Trim the felt on the top and bottom of the box

Step 3: Creating the Ears, Nose, Tail, Eyes, Cheeks

Ears - cut out 4 ear pieces using felt, you can find the template here. Glue 1 Popsicle stick between two felt pieces.
Nose - cut out 2 nose pieces using felt, sew the sides together but leave both ends open
Tail - cut out 2 tail pieces using felt, sew the sides together but leave both ends open
Eyes - cut out 2 eye pieces using felt, glue the eyes onto the body
Eyes - cut out 2 cheek pieces using felt, glue the cheeks onto the body

Step 4: Interaction I - Tongue Pressure Sensor

• Create a pressure sensor using Scotch tape, 2 wires, and 4 layers of Velostat.
• Tear out two pieces of tape, place the conductive part of the wire on each tape, place the four layers of velostat between the two pieces, and tape the piece together. (More information is available here on how to make a sticky tape pressure sensor)
• Cut out two tongue shapes out of red felt; glue the edge of the two pieces together so the felt forms a pocket.
• Place the pressure sensor you just made inside the "tongue" enclosure

Use this code here in Arduino to test the output of the pressure sensor. (To be completed)

Step 5: Interaction I - Speaker Output

When you squeeze the elephant's tongue, he will start to sing a song. Attach the speaker output to the Arduino. Use this code to test whether the output works. You will need to adjust the pressure value for the output.

Step 6: Interaction II - Capactive Sensor

• Create a capacitive sensor by tape a piece of copper tape on the top to the elephant.
• Solder a piece of wire onto the copper
• Attach the sensor to the Arduino as pictured. Here is the documentation on capacitive sensors in Arduino playground

Step 7: Interaction II - LEDs / Eyes

When the hand touches the capacitive sensors, the eyes of the elephant will light up

Step 8: Interaction II - Servo Motor / Ears

When the hand touches the capacitive sensors, it will activate the motor that will "wiggle" the elephants' ears.

Step 9: Interaction III - Photoresistors

Step 10: Interaction III - Servo Motor / Nose

10 k resistor

Step 11: Interaction III - DC Motor / Tail

Step 12: Interaction IV - LEDs / Reed Switch

Step 13: Coding - All

The entire coding are written based on

Step 14: Putting It Together

LED Contest with Elemental LED

Participated in the
LED Contest with Elemental LED

Maker Moms Contest

Participated in the
Maker Moms Contest