Larry the Joke Telling Robot Skull and His Dad, Skullduino.

Introduction: Larry the Joke Telling Robot Skull and His Dad, Skullduino.

About: Dad, maker, dreamer, hacker, painter.

Hi everyone, I will start by saying that I have not made an instructable for this project. I would have liked to, but I did not take any photos during the build, nor would I have been able to find the spare time. I will say however that I am thinking about doing a similar project (a rebuild?) after Halloween when I can reclaim the servo. If the video generates a bit of interest, I will be sure to 'ible the next one. In the meantime I have been dying (overstatment, but curious for certain) for some feedback. (seeking validation...oh god, I am probably in some kind of downward spiral)

Oh, I guess I should say something about Larry, what he is and does. He is an animatronic skull made by hacking together a few dollar store Halloween items and a servo motor. An articulated skull was the main component, I hacked off the top and hot glued in a plastic brain. A small servo with a little armature is controlling the jaw, the servo is being controlled by an Arduino. The Arduino is in turn tethered to a netbook running a Processing sketch. The Processing sketch is using the VOCE (speech recognition) library to recognize the requests I am making. He basically tells kid jokes, but he knows over 200 of them. He tells regular jokes of the question answer format, knock knock jokes, and occasionally a one liner.
He fetches his jokes from text files, and so can easily have jokes added to his repository, I stopped when I felt he didn't retell to often. the next iteration of Larry will be much friendlier in appearance and I will be adding a whole bunch more jokes and types. The other change I will make is to also include the free tts library as the VOCE implementation for generation is less tweekable.
For a first try at this kind of thing, he seems to work pretty well. I am proud of him.

Skullduino was actually Larry's predecessor, but I am including him second. There is no reason for this. I love them both. Skullduino turned into more of an experimental platform and I am still playing around with him, although I am thinking he will mostly be re-purposed after Halloween too. He is the same dollar store skull model mounted on a turret platform (neck) with an ancient digistix cam innards mounded behind one eye socket. He is using Processing and OpenCV to track motion and detect faces. I have put up all three of his vids so you can see how he progressed.

My first attempt.

This one show where I had started having the idea for Larry.

He was getting pretty neat at this point but Larry was being born on another worktable. Poor Skullduino.
Halloween Photos Challenge

Finalist in the
Halloween Photos Challenge

Halloween Decorations Challenge

Participated in the
Halloween Decorations Challenge

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    I really like how you "skulls" interact with the outside world. If only there were a place for all these cool Halloween projects year round.

    hey i was wondering what you used purely to get the mouth to move? and the way you went about that? Because i am looking into a similar sort of thing but no one seems to have instructables on just the mouth in animatronics...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I have another instructable, I think it was called voice puppet. It is a step by step, and i show how I did the mouth (same as here) Also my Tree animatronic part 1 has a moving mouth.
    Just a servo with an armature really


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I so wish that I had taken photos during the build, I would write it up immediately. I am looking forward to getting back to work on this. (I am referring to Larry, as he is mainly just Processing code), the output is sort of irrelevant (although a talking robot head is cool, and will remain my format of choice for receiving jokes from a machine). Suffice to say that I will be looking back into both of these projects in the near future. Skullduino (the motion tracking camera head) will have night vision (cam already hacked, IR light augmentation tested(ing)). And I will be looking at ways to combine the two effectively; I was getting overflows last time round.
    I have chosen a starting block for the new head, just have to wait for Halloween (Larry's head is now part of a costume see my voice changer Instructable to get an idea. Think headless guy carrying his head in a bucket.)
    I put this up because I wanted to share/show off the beginnings of some of my ideas that smarter folks could do cooler stuff with.
    I wish I knew what was missing in this photo instructable to get it featured....probably some photos. I'd love for it to get some exposure, even if it isn't a step by step yet. I sent videos of the silly things all over the usual hack sharing places, and not even a bite. sigh. I just want to share so I can see what the next person does.
    I know I know. Sniff. Boo-Hoo. Get on with some making man. Hey I just wanted to say my punctuation is awesome.