We've all see it - The main character in the Animatronic suit is running around and on the side is his team of trusted R/C controllers. But - What happens if you are only the actor and you want to do the same. And even worst you are in a non-scripted ad-hoc environment - The Public!!!
Yes - you can pre-program sequences into a microcontroller BUT how do you then control it without been seen to be pushing buttons etc.
Where here is a solution. Tongue Control
How does it work? A mold is made of the actor's pallette and a small resin shield is made. On the resin sheild you place Hall Effect devices and a resistor network. This is so that whenever a single Hall Effect device is activates you can see a change in voltage on the output wire. Cover this in resin to insulate.
The actor can wear this (only 3 wires coming off it is needed) and it is attached to the A/D side of a microcontroller that will monitor the voltage changes. I use denture paste to hold mine in the roof of my mouth.
By gluing a tiny piece of fridge magnet (yes - the Hall Effect's units are THAT sensitive) to the tip of the actors tongue they can then press this against any off the Hall Effect devices and thus send a command to the controller.
Fridge Magnets are safe.. It is when you accidentally ingest rare-earth magnets that the problem occur.
I have got surgical superglue from a Vet's and the magnet holds on for several days. If anyone can suggest something else then PLEASE....
On my unit pictures below I also added an earphone unit to give an audio feedback of what was pressed but that can easily be set externally to it.
It's small, lightweight, easy to get used to.. and I can control 8 switches.. or 7 and use the center one as an emergency STOP!!!!
For example a PicAxe 08M2 for $4 is perfect for the controller for this. With more work it can even be totally inside the actors' mouth and use bluetooth/rf to send signals removing any need for wires.