Once I knew the assignment was called “Stupid Pet Trick”, I knew that I wanted to use an actual toy pet for this assignment, instead of using boxes and cardboard, which I’ve been using for the previous assignments.
What can one do with a pet? There are many things that come to mind, but I remembered one thing I used to do to my cat (out of pure love, of course) when I was around 8 years old. Sometimes I would hug my cat so tight that he wouldn’t like it and make a sound that would make me let him go.
For this project, I’ve decided to modify the idea of hugging a little bit, since I can do more with a toy pet than I can with a real one. I wanted to put RGB LEDs behind the pet’s eyes, so that they change colour depending on how hard you squeeze the pet (indicating pet’s level of discomfort). For the squeezing part I’ve put a pressure sensor inside the pet. Also, I did not forget about the sound that my cat used to make, so if someone applies too much pressure on the pet, it would also make annoying sound that should make the person who is squeezing it to release the grip.
At first, I went to the store and bought this adorable seal, but then I found it too cute to dismember
Shreya was kind enough to offer me her “ugly” panda, and I found it a better toy at least because it was bigger in size, and also not that cute, which made my butchering process less heartbreaking.
The hardest part was taking panda’s eyes out, because they were literally screwed into a piece of plastic (I assume so that kids cant pull them out easily), so it took me an hour at least, and two pair of pliers to take the eyes out without damaging the fabric around the eyes.
They were also coloured green on the inside, and I wanted them transparent, so I had to use acetone to get rid of the paint. Wiping it with a tissue did not get much of paint off, so I decided to let the eyes soak in the acetone. It did a great job getting rid of the paint, but it also melted the eyes…
So they looked really creepy:
Because of this, I ended up using googly eyes, which in my opinion fit the bear even better, and was easier to put LEDs behind them.
To put everything inside the bear, I had to take the stuffing out, put the pressure sensor inside his body, glue the LEDs behind his eyes, place the piezo buzzer in his head and gently put the stuffing back without pulling any wires. This is how it looks from behind with all the wires sticking out
My first thought was to saw it back together, but then I would not be able to open it in case I needed to fix or readjust something. I ended up using a velcro strip that I stitched to one side of the fabric, and there was even no need to stitch another strip to the other side, as velcro would perfectly stick to the fabric the bear was made out of.
This is how its back looks closed
After fitting everything in I just had to slightly adjust the placement of the LEDs, but that was no big of a deal. It ended up being more stable and pull-resistant than I thought it would be, and does not even look that terrible after I restuffed it .
Here is how it looks from the front, and how it reacts when someone puts a lot of pressure on its stomach. Still looks a little creepy 🙂