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Welcome to our first wearable project!
You may be wondering why we decided to make this project. Well…first of all, it’s cool! But actually, this tail was designed to be part of a live stage performance that we were asked to assist with, so we took on the challenge. We’re pretty happy with the results.
Animatronics is the imitation of animal or human movement, and it can be done in several ways. In this case, we decided to use an MPU 6050 and servo motors. The MPU 6050 is a small sensor has a triple axis accelerometer and gyro combined, allowing very deep motion detection and analysis.
We placed three servos on the tail, which allowed it to move in a close-to-natural way: once one servo pulls the other releases tension and vice versa. The top servo allows the up and down movement. We also added an option to toggle between the MPU and a joystick, through the joystick’s push-button, so you can also manually control the tail's movement.Setting up the circuit
Here’s a magic link to circuito.io which shows all the components you need for the project. Notice that the battery is 9V, but eventually you will need to use a 12v battery or 8 AA batteries.
If you would like to replicate the project we made exactly, click generate.Modifications
You can also make some adjustments to the circuit: for example you can add addressable LEDs to light up the tail, or maybe you want to use a more compact Arduino such us Arduino Micro or Pro-Mini. Another option is adding Bluetooth control or WiFi connectivity.Bill of Materials and Code
After clicking “Generate” and “Open my circuito”, you’ll see three sections in the circuito.io Reply: BoM (Bill of materials), step-by-step wiring guide, and code.
- Going through the BoM, make sure that you have all the parts you need. Notice that there are also peripherals such as capacitors and jumper cables, that are necessary for your project.
- Next, follow the step-by-step wiring guide which will show you exactly how to put together your circuit.
- Last, in the code section, you'll see a sample code for your circuit. This code is not specific for the tail project, but rather it is a sample code that activates the different components in your circuit.
To activate the code, follow these steps:
- Download the code
- Extract it to your computer
- Open with Arduino IDE
- Upload to your Arduino
If everything works properly, replace the sample code you received from circuito.io with the code in this tutorial. Make sure to leave the //Include Libraries and //Pin Definitions at the top of the code, and also keep all the libraries that you received from the circuito reply.Building the Tail
The 3d designs, laser cuts, materials and assembly guide are on Thingiverse.