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  • Crazy Corrina Espinosa

Finger Puppet Theater: Apocalypse at the Swamp, Act 3, Scene 6

Don't touch the Art! Everyone knows that's the #1 rule for visiting art museums and galleries. So what do you do when you actually do want your viewers to touch the art? You make the whole thing controlled by a pair of power gloves!


To make a "power glove" controlled finger puppet theater on a hacked thrift store painting, using 4 flex sensors to control 4 servo motors, which will move 7 puppets. Add lights for added drama and intriguing aesthetics.

Step 1: Get the motors moving.

Using a breadboard, an arduino and code from the Spark Fun Inverters Kit, I was able to easily get the first motor moving (through digital output pin 9) using a flex sensor (analog input pin 0) for control. Next, I augmented the code to accomodate 3 additional motors (digital pins 10, 11 & 12) and 3 additional sensors (analog pins 1, 2 & 3).

Step 2: Simplify the circuit board.

As you can see by the picture, this circuit got messy real quick! 2 boards, and tons of wires that easily pull out of the pins will not work in the gallery, so I've decided to go arduinoless, and put my entire circuit onto one perma-board. Here is the link to the tutorial I used: Go Arduinoless (I cut it down even more to the bare bones components in order to run the Atmega 328 chip).

Step 3: Puppets!

Next I made puppets using prints on card stock and tiny brads. I drilled some holes in the thrift store painting (to run the wires through), mounted motors (hot glue) and installed 7 puppets. Using foam core and sewing pins I was able to give the additional 3 puppets (not mounted directly to motors) movement by connecting them to the motor arms with fishing line.

Step 4: Power Gloves

Power Gloves Ingredients:

1 pair hacked gloves

4 flex sensors (2 for each glove)

(4) 3 ft black wire

(4) 3 ft red wire

hot glue

Power Glove Recipe:

Solder the black wires onto the negative ends of the flex sensors and the red wires onto the positive ends. Each sensor will have 2 wires, a negative and a positive. Next, carefully hot glue the sensors onto the inside middle and index finger of the gloves (2 sensors for each glove). Attach them to the proper pins in your circuit, and it's showtime!

Step 5: Finalize the look.

I added an extra 5v output to my circuit, which allowed me to add plenty of LED's as the motors and puppets were being mounted to the board. I added nearly 20 LED's to light up the show! I think I pushed it to the limit, any more and the circuit might have stopped working (at that point I would add a tansistor or possibly additional power).

See the final product here:

Finally, for those interested here is the (altered SIK) arduino code:

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