I am in the design stage on a large Dragon (head & neck base is about 6 1/2'). The smaller movements (eyes and such) seem pretty straight forward, but the larger ones (neck) are proving to be difficult. I've done quite a bit of it on parade floats and Halloween haunts, but so far everything has been full in & out or rotational movement with no subtleties and little control.
What I'm looking for is actuators (electric and/or pneumatic) that can pause at various points in their motion. Suppliers aren't so much the issue as knowing what type of actuator I need. Noise is a concern; they have to be pretty quiet.
Once that's done, control is the next issue - I don't want a pre-programmed show, but a "puppeteer" to work it reacting to different situations as they arise.
What kind of experience have people had in this area?