I’m presenting some electronic wearables at the Crucible‘s Hot Couture in a couple of weeks, including a pair of brainwave-responsive wings made from Necomimi. These are EEG cat ears, which twitch up and down depending on your brainwave emissions; the name comes from Japanese “neko” (cat) and “mimi” (ear). Here’s Deconstruction Level 1, from October of this year.
(A Parallax screwdriver, such as from a SumoBot kit, is perfect for this teardown.)
Let’s start with the ears. They come with furry white covers, stretched over white foam mounts. The two pieces separate easily, and if you want to go the Emoki route, you can create your own. The cover/mount assembly is friction-fit onto a plastic servo, which lives inside the ear.
Except for the removable head strap, this is about as far as you get before fetching a screwdriver. We’ll look at the left ear block next.
Big, friendly flathead screw! You can open this with a penny or whatever. It exposes the (four AAA) batteries.
On any piece of consumer electronics, a sticker is likely to hide screws. Pull this one off, and you’ll find four small Phillips heads. Remove them!
Next, tackle the tabs; there’s a slot in the back edge of the battery case, where one of the tabs can be pushed in with a screwdriver. The other four lie inside the top and bottom edges of the case. Release them gently.
Now, you can pull off the outer-facing part of the casing (where the on/off button is).
And here’s the circuit board… on/off button in the middle, forehead sensor arm to the right, ear sensor cable at the top:
Also near the top, you can see two white headers for PWM cables. These are our prize!
For my nefarious purposes, I’m cutting these and pulling them out of the case. They go to the ear servos, threaded through the two black bars of the headpiece. Since I’m removing those servos, I’ll need to re-route the cables elsewhere.
Leaving us with a head-squid!
In Deconstruction Level 2, the servos come off. The bottom of each nubbin is covered by a sticker. You can dent it with a fingernail to see where the interesting bits are. In this case, there are four more screws (the same as the ones holding the battery case together). Remove!
Two small screws inside attach the headset’s bars to the servo mount.
I snipped the PWM cables on this end as well, leaving them threaded through the bars and into the circuit board casing. Just in case. The right servo’s cable goes through the front headset bar, and remains in front on the circuit board.
The main issue with extending this cable is ensuring that it won’t be yanked out later. Hot glue mostly fixes this problem. It can also be blobbed on to insulate the solder joints from each other. Be sure to give the cable plenty of space to move as the servo rotates!
I recommend labeling the ear-nubbins, once they’re off.
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That’s it for now! Here’s a sneak preview for the show…