How would you go about animating a costumed mannequin?

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by JadBean, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. JadBean

    JadBean New Member

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    I'm starting a Stormtrooper build with the goal of joining the 501st, and I got to thinking about ways to display armor/costumes when they're not being used. I've seen plenty of attractive mannequin displays of costumes, but they're usually completely static. I'm thinking there may be simple ways of automating and animating a mannequin to create a more lifelike display.

    Here's what I'd love to be able to accomplish with an animated mannequin:

    - Slowly expanding and contracting chest, to simulate breathing.

    - Body slightly shifting from left to right, as if the person were shifting their weight from one foot to the other.

    - Sound chip of normal at-rest breathing. We all know what sound to use for a certain Dark Lord of the Sith display!

    - Head slowly and occasionally turning left to right to left. Bonus points if a system could be made to recognize and follow a person in the room, so that the head is always pointed at the person!

    I'm betting a program could be written for an arduino board to manage the timing of the breathing, weight-shifting, etc. Any thoughts on how to engineer motions like these? Would you modify an existing mannequin or build one from scratch?
  2. Tank231073

    Tank231073 New Member

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    I do know that someone used a motion sensor and camera for thier boba fett costume on a manequin, I think it was posted on the dented helmet so that when someone walked by the head would follow. Sa for the chest moving maybe using air bladders and a mini compressor from an air brush kit might work just have to do the timming rot the filling and release.
  3. JadBean

    JadBean New Member

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    That's cool, I will check at TDH. I was thinking for the chest breathing, a simple way might be to have a horizontal metal band stretched around the inside of the largest part of the chest, and have a mechanism that expands and contracts the band. A simple piston could push the ends of the band away from one another.
  4. wickedoffroad

    wickedoffroad Active Member

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    For the head movement if you went with a simple motor and arm. Think of your windshield wipers. That would move the head from side to side and could use a timer delay or other control to slow down the movement. Again think of your wipers...time delay.
  5. Laamberry

    Laamberry Well-Known Member

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    Jadbean, you should look into those people who make fake babies for a living. No really.
    They make these fake babys ("reborn babies") with breathing mechanisms, heart beats, warmers, everything. I bet if you look around enough, you can even find somthing that makes them wiggle around a little. I don't know how effective they would be for your idea since it's so much larger, but if you had a soft stuffed manequin and put the breathing mech and stuff very close to the front of the chest, you should be golden.

    ReBorn Supplies :: Grammaz LiL Re-Borns reborn Dolls and Reborn Doll Supplies
    this place has the breathing mech but it looks a touch sketchy...

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