Eva Taylor works at EKT Workshop and built an animatronic rod puppet Alien as a masterwork research project for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney Australia. It was inspired by the “bambi burster” built for the film Alien 3, although her creature is somewhat different.
The animatronics are controlled via a Playstation 3 controller, using a servoshock module between the controller and an Arduino Uno board:
It contains and 8 way 2 stage tail mechanism and animatronic lips, jaw and tongue. The remaining parts are rod controlled. A myriad of techniques were deployed in its construction – the torso and limbs were hand-carved from Queensland Maple while the joints were custom made from recycled parts of RC cars and planes. The skeleton of the tail was custom made from acrylic and cut on a laser cutter. The head contains an underskull of fibreglass, dental acrylic teeth and silicone skin. The muscle groups are also made of deadened, encapsulated silicone.
She shared with us the video above showing the main phases of the making-of process, while the one below gives you an idea of how the puppet looks like in a more dramatic piece: