Object: To create a pair of human ears that can transmit emotions by its movements.
Project Ideation here: Concept Essay
(*Due to the lack of time, I didn’t get to create the second ear. Therefore, so far it is just like Van Gogh – with only one ear. =v=)
Prototype and fabrication: I started with prototyping the mechanism that could make the ear rotate. At the very beginning, I placed two servos on a platform (a piece of cardboard) and let them move on two different surface dimensions. Because originally I imagined that the ears could move along two different directions, from up to down, and from back to front.
But soon I found out that the servos were not moving as what I expected. The two movements should happen based on the same pivot point, instead of two different center axises.
Therefore, I needed to think about another more efficient structure to imitate the movements. We did a lot of research online and finally found this quite useful: Raspberry Pi Camera Pan tilt, a flexible mechanism that could rotate 360 degrees based on the center of rotation. This should theoretically solve my problem. So I started to make a similar structure out of the instruction.
The biggest issue during the assembling process was, I couldn’t find the suitable screws. I tried many materials and finally decided on the really thick metal wires. Thanks to Professor Rudy and Marcela’s great help, we cut the metal wires into pieces and tied them really tightly around the joint part so that the whole mechanism was stable. We also used glue (super glue and hot glue) to strengthen the connection.
After we figured out the mechanism, I started to think about the visual presentation of ear movements and human interaction. Professor suggested that instead of using the processing slider to simply move the servos, I could use Leap Motion to control the ears with my hands’ movements, which can bring more playable interactions. ↓
（*Oops. The ball joint accidentally fell out… I fixed the problem later so it didn’t happen anymore…）
To make the project more complete, I decided to make a face for my ear, and also a structure to hold the face and the ear.
Then the last part is to put everything together! I want to show the audience the profile of the face, and the ear will be right in front of them, so that it’s easier for them to notice the ear.
Here is the final video: My friend Mate playing with the ear hahaha ↓