Moving Snakes with Servos for a Medusa Halloween Costume

Moving Snakes with Servos for a Medusa Halloween Costume

I took this Medusa costume up a tiny notch by make some of the snake heads move usings Servos and Arduino!

A quick review of who Medusa is: The famous Greek myth of Medusa is a sad story of a beautiful priestess to goddess Athena that was taken advantage of by the god Poseiden. In Athena's rage over Medusa's "betrayal", Medusa was changed into a Gorgon - a hideous creature with snakes for hair, talons, and other fun features including her eyes could turn a person into stone! She was ultimately beheaded by the hero Perseus and there is a famous statue of this act by Benvenuto Cellini in piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. 

This costume is not done yet, so stay tuned for updates! 

Last updated October 27th. 


Materials 

Hardware: 

Software: 

Extras:
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Twisty-ties or zip ties - something to fasten a Servo horn to the snake

Background:


Assembly & Hardware

There are a few logistical problems to consider when making a headdress with moving electronics. 

1. The servo horn must be attached to the snake

2. The servo motor case itself must be fastened to something stable so that the snake head moves rather than the servo itself

3. Powering electronics in a non-distracting way while balancing them on a human head

Problem 1.

The first problem can be solved with twisty ties that match the snake, or zip ties. I found glue to be unreliable due to the rubber material of the fake snakes. 

Hardware components including a screwdriver, snake, servo with attached servo horn, and some snipping tools
To maximize the movement of the snake, one must maximize the contact of the servo horn attached to it. I chose the largest servo horn in my servo box and snipped the ends to make it fit nicely under the snake body. 

Problem 2. 

With the servo horn attached to one snake, the servo will twist around since it is not stabilized by anything else. Luckily, Medusa's hair is completely made of snakes! To stabilize the first snake, the servo motor base is attached to another snake coiled with it. With a layered look using many snakes, the servo can be stabilized and hidden away. 

Problem 3.

The electronics are harder to hide amongst snakes individually. Using a project box, I drilled a hole for the servo to be connected to the electronics, while hiding away the bulky battery in a compact black box that can be tucked under a pile of snakes. 

 

Project box with drilled hole

Since the servo wire is yellow, brown, and red - I decided to take a long piece of black heathshrink to cover the wire in order to keep in hidden amongst all of the other snakes.

Animation of snake head moving using Arduino and servo
Problems solved! Now to get a lot more snakes...

Software 

Once more of the snake headdress is completed, the software will be finalized!

Check back for updates!


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