Animatronic wolf head

A web photo gallery displaying the pics taken during construction is here: Animatronic Head Construction Pics

The following is general information on the head

Wolf jaw set:

Wolf jaw set from all angles:


Close up of the wolf nose and tongue:


"Human" compatible wolf jaw set, with nose:


The "human" compatible part, is just the jaw end has been shaped to my upper and lower jaw, although, the lower jaw one needs to be shaped some more

Wolf head prototype:

The wire frame wolf head currently under construction


The nose has been inset about 1/4 inch, so I can see over it, the jaw is spring loaded, and works quite well when I talk


Their is a servo in the mouth, to show it open, and the servo on top of the head, was just to keep it from falling over when I took the pic

Animatronic wolf ears:

The wolf ears have 3 degrees of freedom: move left, right, forward, back, rotate, clockwise and counter clockwise

Each ear is powered by 3 sub-micro servos, producing 20 oz/in of torque

This was the first configuration, it was changed due to the fact that rotation and forward/back is used more then side to side

Some pics of the ears


this video shows the ears in action, the first 2/3 of the video is of me moving the sliders around on the Real Time Motion Control System, then the last part of the video is set locations, stored in the microcontroller, "normal", "perk", "sound from behind, on left and right", "scold", "ear flick" (the ear flick needs work)

wolfears.avi (4.38 megs)

Animatronic wolf head electronics:

The microcontroller is now on board, as well as the power supply


A few pics of the prototype wolf head from different angles


Built out animatronic wolf head:

The muzzle was removed from the prototype wolf head and disassembled, but the back of the head was kept and built out to make it look wolfy


Animatronic wolf muzzle:

I rebuilt the muzzle from the prototype and added two servos, one to raise the nose, and one to raise the lips, i.e. snarl


A close up of the servos in the muzzle, the left servo raises the nose, and the right servo pulls on the lips to raise them

Animatronic wolf head:

The animatronic wolf head is being run by the laptop in the background via the Real Time Motion Control System

Some pics of the animatronic wolf head in the following modes:





Nose Raise


Lip Raise


Ear Perk


Sound Behind Left


Sound Behind Right




Due to the loss of my computer with my capture card in it, (primary hard disk failed) I could not take any construction pics, but Ocicat stopped by and took the following pics of the Wolf Head:


The eyes on the wolf head are dimensional, which is an optical illusion that makes it look like the eyes are always looking at you, they do not actually move, it just appears that way

They are made out of 80mm prescription lenses, PVC, cardboard, and black see thru material

It was only supposed to take one weekend to fur the head, but after a few attempts, I realized that it was really hard to sew the fur to the wire frame, with out leaving really obvious seems

Thus, I sewed plastic canvas mesh onto the wire frame, which evened out the contours, and allowed for the fur to be simply hot glued on to the plastic mesh

Also at this time the wolf jaw set was painted, the gums black, and the teeth white and the nose was painted black


The head was then furred, it took many attempts to get it right

Short pile fur was hot glued to the muzzle, then sewn to the lips

Short pile fur was also used around the eyes, and face

Medium pile fur was hot glued to the sides and forehead

Long pile fur was hot glued to the plastic mesh for the back of the head


This was a range of motion test, of the ears, to see how much performance degradation occurred  

Due to the way the fur connected from the ears to the head, there was some performance degradation, but that was expected, and was better then leaving gaps in the fur


Some more pics of the head, many pics where taken because of it is hard for me to see how the head looks while wearing it, especially the sides and the back, I have about 120 degree viewing angle, left to right, (no peripheral vision), and it is hard to see below my muzzle


The head before and after airbrushing, the ears where airbrushed separately



Wolf Head 1.mpg (5.2 megs)

Wolf Head 2.mpg (5.2 megs)

This video was taken with the wolf head connected to the laptop and controlled via the RTMCS

Wolf Head 3.mpg (8.8 megs)

Fore more info on the airbrushing, and final pics of the wolf head go to the Wolf Suit page:

Future wolf head work:

I would like to have the ears auto track the loudest sound in the room, I think I can accomplish this with three microphones, an amp, and a microcontroller

I will know the distance between the mics, and I could easily time the difference the sound takes to reach one the other ear, and thus I could triangulate where the sound came from, and cause the ears to point to that location, third mike senses if the sound came from behind

Also, eventually I also want to make the lips animatronic, and be able to look like the wolf head is talking, mechanically, I think it is possible, but I am still deciding how to encode my mouth movements, and/or speech into the microcontroller...

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