Restaurants like Showbiz and Chuck E. Cheese’s were staples of suburban childhood in the ’80s and ’90s. Beyond the arcades and mediocre pizza, these places also featured audio-animatronic musicians. Snellby Reviews looks back at the history of these restaurants, and their sad fate in the 2000s. Part two here.
Engineered Arts shows off their Ameca robot, an advanced humanoid that can produce convincing facial expressions and gestures. The robotic platform is designed to improve human-robot interaction, and as a vehicle for AI technology. It’s expected to be on display at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. (Thanks, Rob!)
The Imagineers who bring the attractions to life at Disney’s theme parks are among the most talented designers, engineers, and builders in the world. This brief video shares some of their recent work in robotics, animatronics, ride design, and more. Plus, there’s another glimpse at their amazing retractable lightsaber.
Danny Huynh Creations shows off one of the sweetest miniatures ever. This mechanical trike features an animatronic android riding atop the rig, which has a chainsaw-style front drivetrain and wheels at the rear for stability. It’s not just for looks – it’s a fully operational R/C vehicle. Just look at all the details on its rider.
Willow Creative’s incredible mechanical mask allows its wearer to control its mouth by moving their chin. The mechanism also moves its upper lip, nose and ears, and its eyes light up and move thanks to an Arduino Nano and a pair of mini servo motors. We can’t wait to see the finished version. Here’s more about the design.
James Bruton is always making cool and amazing things. His latest build is a version of Tickle-Me Elmo that can actually move and walk around thanks to an array of nine servo motors and a wheeled robot that pushes it along. The design was inspired by that creepy teddy bear in the Spielberg movie A.I. Part one here.
If you’ve played God of War on the PS4, you’re probably familiar with Mimir, the disembodied head that helps guide Kratos and Atreus on their missions. Bar-El Studio created this animatronic replica of the egotistical character, complete with light-up mechanical eyes, and speech samples from the game.
Prepare yourself for six minutes of weird and wild machines that are ready to fuel your nightmares. Since putting together this amazing showreel back in 2012, London animatronics designer Gustav Hoegen has gone on to run the creature effects department for the latest round of Star Wars movies.
The roboticists at Garner Holt Productions show off their proudest achievement to date. “Alfred Jingle Machina” is an animatronic head that can move more smoothly than any before it, replicating human expressions better than ever. Maybe Westworld isn’t that far off after all.
Whether or not you loved The Last Jedi, you’ve got to hand it to the effects departments for their work on the film. While we assumed the Vulptex (aka “crystal foxes”) were CGI, it turns out they built an amazing animatronic puppet for close-ups, then scanned it for digital use.