We have to make the mouth of our giant puppet move in sync with the mouth of the dancer inside. We tried making a silicone mask to hold an array of sensors to read the movement of her face. It doesn’t really get us what we’re after. We want the mouth to open and close on each syllable, but real people don’t do that when they talk. In reality there are a vast number of movements to read, most of which are in the mouth or throat. Reading these mechanically is not just difficult, it’s really uncomfortable!
Anyway, below are some photos of the rig we tried to use to read the chin movements.
First we made a plaster cast of one of the locals. We then made a clay covering, which is used to make a further plaster cast. Finally these two casts are used as a mold for making silicone chin harnesses.
The yellow things are silicone casts. There are two human chin harnesses and one giant sized puppet mouth, all made from very soft silicone.
That big mouth has a self satisfied, smug quality doesn’t it? Well, don’t worry! We beat that out of it with one super powerful servo and a good bit of crazy glue.
Here’s a chin harness. We’re trying to glue in a flex sensor. It works, sort of. OK, hardly. (You may notice that we have the sensor bent the wrong way. We flipped it and still got vague results.)
The other bit we tried was a simple potentiometer mounted at the hinge of the jaw, with a rod going down to the chin. Again, it works, sort of.
We’re going to try something else!