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If you’re a fan of Portal games, you’d probably like nothing more than to have your own Wheatley Personality Core to accompany you on real-life adventures. While that would be a passing thought for most, Luke Albertson has created his own amazing replica of the Portal 2 character. 

The device not only can say over 40 phrases from the game via an Adafruit soundboard, but contains a glowing blue eyeball that can pan, tilt, twist, and blink to help express what it’s thinking. It even has handles that move up and down, adding a kind of “flailing arms” effect to convey its emotions. 

Albertson’s animatronic project is controlled by an Arduino Uno, along with a Bluetooth shield and PS3 controller for user interface. It’s shown off quite nicely in the video below, and more info and clips are available here.

Lip syncing for computer animated characters has long been simplified. You draw a set of lip shapes for vowels and other sounds your character makes and let the computer interpolate how to go from one shape to the next. But with physical, real world puppets, all those movements have to be done manually, frame-by-frame. Or do they?

Billy Whiskers: animatronic puppet
Billy Whiskers: animatronic puppet

Stop motion animator and maker/hacker [James Wilkinson] is working on a project involving a real-world furry cat character called Billy Whiskers and decided that Billy’s lips would be moved one frame at a time using servo motors under computer control while [James] moves the rest of the body manually.

He toyed around with a number of approaches for making the lip mechanism before coming up with one that worked the way he wanted. The lips are shaped using guitar wire soldered to other wires going to servos further back in the head. Altogether there are four servos for the lips and one more for the jaw. There isn’t much sideways movement but it does enough and lets the brain fill in the rest.

On the software side, he borrows heavily from the tools used for lip syncing computer-drawn characters. He created virtual versions of the five servo motors in Adobe Animate and manipulates them to define the different lip shapes. Animate then does the interpolation between the different shapes, producing the servo positions needed for each frame. He uses an AS3 script to send those positions off to an Arduino. An Arduino sketch then uses the Firmata library to receive the positions and move the servos. The result is entirely convincing as you can see in the trailer below. We’ve also included a video which summarizes the iterations he went through to get to the finished Billy Whiskers or just check out his detailed website.

[Jame’s] work shows that there many ways to do stop motion animation, perhaps a part of what makes it so much fun. One of those ways is to 3D print a separate object for each character shape. Another is to make paper cutouts and move them around, which is what [Terry Gilliam] did for the Monty Python movies. And then there’s what many of us did when we first got our hands on a camera, move random objects around on our parent’s kitchen table and shoot them one frame at a time.

Mag
20

HummingBird Duo is an Arduino At Heart Robotics Kit for Ages 10 to 110

animatronics, arduino, ArduinoAtHeart, education, Robotics Commenti disabilitati su HummingBird Duo is an Arduino At Heart Robotics Kit for Ages 10 to 110 

hummingbird

Today we want to introduce you to a new Arduino at Heart Partner launching on Kickstarter this week: Hummingbird Duo is an electronics kit designed to be fun and educational for a fourth grader, a high school student, a college engineering student, or an adult maker.

Hummingbird Duo  creates a bridge between making and classroom education combining craft materials, electronic components and drag &drop programming. Part of Hummingbird’s mission is, in fact, to explode common conceptions of how robotics can be used in K-12 education:

 We have designed several levels of learning into the Hummingbird experience. Instead of a steep learning curve, learners go up a staircase where each step increases skills and where mastering each step allows one to use the Hummingbird in a new and more interesting way.

 

The kit was developed by BirdBrain Technologies, a Pittsburgh, PA firm founded by Tom Lauwers in 2010 to commercialize educational technology developed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute’s CREATE lab and since 2012, they have pledged 1% of their net profits to the Computer Science Teacher’s Association.

hummingbird-duo

Support them on Kickstarter!

 

 

Lug
24

Predator suit for Monsterpalooza includes over-engineered shoulder cannon

animatronics, arduino hacks, cnc hacks, predator, replica, wearable hacks Commenti disabilitati su Predator suit for Monsterpalooza includes over-engineered shoulder cannon 

off-the-hook-predator-suit

This Predator suit was premiered at this year’s Monsterpalooza conference. It’s nothing short of incredible. But the shoulder cannon is really what caught our attention. The thing is fully motorized and includes sound and light firing effects.

We saw a glimpse of what [Jerome Kelty] is capable of about two years ago. He was showing off an Arduino-based animatronics platform he put together for a Predator shoulder cannon that tracked based on where the predator’s helmet was pointing. But other than a video demonstration there wasn’t much info on the that actual build. This post makes up for that and then some.

A replica of this quality is rarely the work of just one person. A team of fans joined in to make it happen. After getting the molded parts for the backpack and canon from another team member [Jerome] set out to fit the support structure, motors, and control electronics into the space available. That meant a ton of milling, cutting, and shaping parts like the support arm seen above which integrates a servo motor into its rectangular outline. All of the controls fit in the backpack, with cables running to the helmet, as well as the cannon.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cnc hacks, wearable hacks
Giu
14

A scary project: diy animatronic eyes

animatronics, arduino, diy, servos, tutorial Commenti disabilitati su A scary project: diy animatronic eyes 

animatronic eyes

Thanks to Lance who created a project on Instructables,  you’ll be able to create remote-controlled eyes using Arduino Uno, two servos, some plexiglass and a couple of doll’s eyes.

If you like animatronics,  watch the video below: the result is pretty scary!
 

 
 

Mag
27

Moostar — fortune telling moose knock-off of Zoltar

animatronics, arduino hacks, moose, toy hacks, zoltar Commenti disabilitati su Moostar — fortune telling moose knock-off of Zoltar 

zoltare-the-fortune-telling-moose

Meet Moostar, the fortune-telling Moose inspired by Zoltar. You remember Zoltar, the coin operated fortune-teller who made [Tom Hanks] a rich movie star? Maybe you didn’t see that flick, but [Sketchsk3tch] did and he pulled this show piece together for a company-wide conference with relative ease.

If you’re good at choosing parts for your projects it makes things a lot simpler. He started with a singing Christmas moose, a mini plasma ball to act as the crystal ball, and somehow came across a collector’s basketball case which was the perfect size for the enclosure.

The electronics also came together remarkably well. He uses a thermal printer to spit out the fortunes — which are actually security tips for employees since that’s the dcpartment he works in. The coin acceptor is a Sparkfun part and he tried two ready made solutions to make the moose talk. The first is seen below and uses pre-recorded messages played by an Arduino Wave shield. This was improved upon by using an EMIC2 text-to-speech module that really opens up the moose’s range of chatter.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, toy hacks


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