Fully finished, the costume takes a fair bit of effort to get into, and quite a bit of effort to get used to the video vision system. If I had it to do over again, I would work to solve the vision problem with prisms or discreet holes in the mask instead of video; it's very sensitive to lighting conditions, and being only 2D and proxied some distance and angle from the normal position and bearing of my eyes, it is hard to switch between costume-off vision and costume-on vision and still be good at both. :)

I would also work to incorporate more moving facial features; one way to do this is to use smaller servos. I used Futaba servos rated at 42 ounce-inches of torque. They make a much smaller model that delivers around 35 ounce-inches, though it is about $65 instead of $20. This smaller model would still have enough torque to drive most any well-designed facial motion, and having a smaller form factor, more servos and mechanisms would have fit in the helmet.

And the single hardest thing about animatronics, I found, is designing and building good mechanisms to convey the motion from the rotating servos. One of the keys to it is properly designing the outer skin-- be it fur or latex or whatnot-- so that that motion can be seen and be realistic.

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Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 by Kevin Kelm