Nightingallery build

Nightingallery is a responsive audio piece designed to pick up where humanaquarium left off. Instead of two real musicians on the other side of the glass, an animatronic bird is the centre of attention. Visitors talk or sing to it through an old field-telephone and the bird sings back, either according to what it’s heard or from its own bank of ‘opinions.

The bird was designed using 3DS MAX, including planning of all the servos and cabling. It has an articulated beak, lip-synched to the audio stream, articulated wings allowing fluttering and shrugging when it hears peaks in amplitude and a movable head which constantly moves back and forth. The bird is controlled by a teensy arduino through MAX MSP. A single MAX patch allows integrated control of the audio, movement and logic.

Each individual bone was printed in ABS using a Dimension FDM 3d printer.

The base and spine were cut from 3mm perspex. Holes for bolts were hand-drilled to allow adjustment

Feathers were made from mylar, laser etched with a spine made from 1mm optical fibre.

The Skeleton was partly gilded in bronze leaf, partly painted with silver framing wax. Each piece was bolted to the frame, making most of the weak ABS non-structural.

Cable control was through 9 gauge guitar strings fed through shrouds from bike brake cables.

Servos were mounted in custom-made mounts, using sticky pads and rubber bands. Standard horns and screw were used to attach cable ends.

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