Wriggling snakes come to life on a little girl's head, fulfilling her dreams of becoming Medusa.
Every once in a while a costume comes along that is truly an inspiration. That is, after seeing it I'm quite inspired to go make something similar. In this case, it is the Medusa costume that Dave Spencer constructed for his daughter.
Medusa, as you undoubtedly remember, had living snakes for hair. This idea, writhing snakes on your head, is pretty far-fetched, but Dave managed to pull it off quite well.
He started with a foam bicycle helmet, cut down to a less bulky shape. In this, he mounted an Arduino and a bank of servos. What is really interesting though is how he planned on articulating the snakes. A rigid wire is passed within a plastic tube and rotated. The placement inside another tube allows for the external structure to remain in a static orientation while the inner core rotates. The initial test of this, visible in the video, is interesting, but still manages to look mostly like a bent wire rotating. The illusion is brought together fully when he creates a rigid segmented structure over the core and then fits it with a cloth skin.
The final motion is incredibly fantastic and indubitably creepy. Here is the most impressive bit though. In a comment on Reddit, Dave says:
"The best part is that after watching me make this, she wants to learn how to do it herself! Stay tuned for our next project…"