A Voice Animated Origami Puppet

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About: Co-owner of Reach and Teach - Books, Toys, and Gifts

This project uses the built-in microphone on an Adafruit Circuit Playground Arduino which operates as a color organ and drives an attached microservo to create the animated motion of an attached origami fox puppet. For fun, try substituting something else for the origami fox puppet used in this instructable. Definitely watch the video to see this in action. And don't forget to check out my other instructables.

Step 1: What You Need for This Project

  • Origami Fox puppet folded from a 5-7/8" square paper sheet
  • Small cardboard box to mount the components onto
  • 9g microservo
  • Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic loaded with Reach and Teach's RTPLAYGROUND software
  • 6" craft stick
  • Plastic Straw
  • Tape
  • Card stock
  • Thread or fishing line

The origami fox puppet is a pretty traditional fold and can be easily found on the Internet. But the book "The Joy of Origami" by Margaret Van Sicklen has some really good instructions for this and even includes some cool looking paper.

As for the electronics, you can buy a complete kit from Reach and Teach which includes a pre-programmed Circuit Playground, microservo and cable, battery holder, and alligator clip cables. If you already have a Circuit Playground Classic and you know how to load Arduino sketches using Arduino IDE, you can download the RTPLAYGROUND Arduino sketch on GitHub.

Step 2: Reinforce the Origami Fox Puppet With Cardstock

Fold card stock and tape it to reinforce the mouth of the origami fox puppet as shown to make it semi-rigid. This will allow the mouth to return to a closed position when released from an open position. Use tape to attach a small strip of card stock to the top of the puppet to form an extended mounting tab.

Step 3: Construct the Base Unit for the Puppet

Cut a 2" section of a straw and use packing tape to tape the straw and the craft stick to a small box so that the craft stick extends somewhere between 2-1/2" to 3" over the top of the box. Cut a rectangle 1" wide and 1/2" high to accommodate the microservo. Mount the microservo and feed the cable for the microservo out the bottom of the box.

Step 4: Attach the Circuit Playground and Setup the Servo

Attach the Red/Orange cable from the servo to the 3.3V pad on the Circuit Playground. Attach the Black/Brown cable from the servo to any GND pad on the Circuit Playground. Attach the Yellow cable from the servo to the #12 pad on the Circuit Playground.

Power on the Circuit Playground and select program function 9 (Color Organ) on the Circuit Playground Classic as described in the RTPLAYGROUND documentation.

As you talk into the Circuit Playground's microphone, the servo horn on the servo should move in response to the sound. Remount the servo horn so that it moves between the 11:00 and 7:00 position in response to the audio input. Go ahead and power the Circuit Playground off.

Step 5: Tape the Puppet to the Craft Stick

Use tape to affix the tab attached to the puppet to the craft stick as shown. Use a sharp pin to bore a hole through the front of the lower lip of the puppet. Tie one end of a length of thread or fish line to the hole on the lower lip of the puppet. Feed the line through the straw and tie the other end to the servo horn.

Step 6: That's All!

Turn on the power to the Circuit Playground. The LEDs on the Circuit Playground will light in response to whatever you say into the Circuit Playground's microphone. The origami puppet will also move in response to the sound. Hope you enjoy this build!

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