Instructables
Picture of Talking Animatronic Robot Head
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(Robot Contest Entry Catagory = 18+)

This instructable is about a talking animatronic robot head I built, which I call Robot Head 2.  To get an idea of Robot Head 2's functionality, click on the short video below or you can copy and paste the following link in your browser:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhPnrvdMArM

Robot Head 2 is a fairly complex animatronic.  I built him from scratch using the following items:

- plywood
- wooden knobs (for the eyes)
- doll eyes (the kind that move when you shake them)
- screws, nuts, bolts, & various other hardware items
- 1/8th inch brass rod
- misc. pieces of metal cut & bent to shape for various things
- latex (for the lips)
- various servos (the kind used in model cars & airplanes)
- wire -- lots of wire!
- one servo controller (MiniSSCII)
- powered computer speakers
- many, many electrical connectors of various configurations
- a large trunk
- wooden box (found at a thrift store)
- a clip-on lamp
- power strip
- an old cooling fan unit salvaged from a computer
- several extension cords
- a pair of old sunglasses
- a single-board computer (RAPU)
- compact flash card (used in the RAPU)
- one micro switch
- one plastic box (to house the RAPU)
- hot glue
- heat shrink tubing & electrician's tape
- varnish, paint, brushes, and rags to clean up the mess!

Tools used included:
- drills & drill bits
- bandsaw
- scroll saw
- wire stripers
- soldering gun & solder
- heat gun
- hot glue gun
- hammer, scredrivers, pliers, etc.

I had no plans when I began this project, other than a previous head that I built as a prototype (Robot Head 1 -- now disassembled).

The head stores in a trunk that I customized, and then mounts on top of the trunk when it is in use. 

This is a fairly complex project, but if you break it down into major goals, it becomes more doable.  So, the approach I will take is to tackle the head itself, the electronics, the other components, and the trunk it travels in and mounts on.
 
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camcam08920 days ago
What I want to know is where you got that cool circuit board wall paper or whatever it is
knife141 (author)  camcam08920 days ago
It was a background drape at a national sales meeting, and was provided by a graphics company. I have no idea of its source.
64001 year ago
to Mr.knife141 >> I am very interested in what you have created. presumably can you share how to make the robot and the robot code? please help me

thx
knife141 (author)  64001 year ago
How to make the robot is documented in the instructable. I would suggest you go back and read the words as opposed to simply looking at the photos. As for the code, I explain the approach I took in one of the steps of the instructable. The actual code would be meaningless to you, because it is entirely dependent on the dialog and and the movements required by the particular dialog.
6400 knife1411 year ago
What references do you use?

thank you
jtehshiz1 year ago
Knife141, could you build a program like Siri, it'd be quite complex but I'm willing to pay
knife141 (author)  jtehshiz1 year ago
I have no interest in building such a program, but I think Apple has one.
64001 year ago
to Mr.knife141 >> I am very interested in what you have created. presumably can you share how to make the robot and the robot code? please help me

thx
I want to build animatronics for a living what do I go to school for
knife141 (author)  MechAtronicsMan1 year ago
Sorry, can't really help you with that. I am self-taught when it comes to animatronics. Someone on staff in the computer science and/or engineering department at university could probably shed some light on the subject. Good luck!
shika222 years ago
can i have the code plz
This is awesome. Did you make a video? If so I would love to see it. Great job!
knife141 (author)  Kaptain Kool3 years ago
A video was included in the introduction (it is beneath the photos). I also included a link to the video in youtube in the text of the introduction.
Oh!! I see it now. Thanks!
djsfantasi3 years ago
HI, how do you get your demonstration dates? Do you advertise or is it through word of mouth? I want to take my animatronic, Peter Penguin, on tour.
knife141 (author)  djsfantasi3 years ago
I do a lot of volunteer gigs with Robot Head 2 -- mostly schools, church activities, etc. Doing some freebies tends to get the word out. Elementary schools are a great place to start. Find a teacher and let them know you're available (free of charge) to give their students a demo when they start a unit on inventors, or science, simple machines, etc. If you're interested in eventually getting more exposure, leave each student a photo of your device with some contact info.
Great idea! Thanks. I used to do a lot at the elementary schools when my kids were young and my sister is now a teacher there. I think that will be a good place to start.
knife141 (author) 3 years ago
Thanks for the kind words! I change the sound file based on the routine. Sometimes I give him a British accent, or U.S. accent, man's, woman's, etc. I thought about making his head a bit more "realistic," but decided it would be a better challenge to keep the head simply out of wood and use the movements to generate expressions. It's a bit harder, but in person people are really surprised that a simple wooden head can appear to have expressions. Thanks again for the comments.
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Nice instructable!!
knife141 (author)  DrWilson3 years ago
Thanks for the info. Just learned something new!
No problem :')
knife141 (author) 3 years ago
A video was included in the introduction (it is beneath the photos). I also included a link to the video in youtube in the text of the introduction.
Nanovirus3 years ago
This was fantastic. The quality is actually quite stunning. Despite the really scary appearance I think that this could really go somewhere. Fill in the models with some kinds of fabrics or other malleable materials a little more appealing to kids.

Great work!

p.s. Didn't like how preachy the sound file was though.