From the decades of fascination over robots that could actually roll around to search for light (Walter’s “Elsie”)…
I like light!
To the amazing evolution of Honda’s bipedal robotic research…
Honda’s commitment to walking robots
To world-wide competitions pitting bipedal robots of all kinds against each other to win aDARPA Challenge…
Many robots tried, many failed…
the world has been pushing for this moment.
One massive company, SoftBank, has purchased the best of the best robotics companies in the world. Now you have Boston Dynamics, Schaft, Aldebaran, and more under one roof. SoftBank picked up where Google’s “Alphabet” left off!
This could be the moment where we look back at in history and say:
“Huh. I really wish they paid attention to all the science fiction movies about robots killing people”
“Huh. It is amazing how all those companies came together to produce all these helpful, life saving, Earth-loving, non-polluting robots.”
Either way a shift just happened in robotics history. A huge telecom business bought the best robotics companies gaining most of the poker chips in this game.
Cheers to the (hopefully) bright future of robotics!
Everybody is getting information faster, trying to absorb it, learn from it, but it can be too much! With attention spans shrinking it becomes very difficult to help somebody learn history without poking them with a stick every five seconds.
We at Custom Entertainment Solutions do not endorse poking people with sticks.
Instead, we open creative, hungry minds to new information using animatronics!
The City of Belton, in conjunction with the local history museum housed in a 100-year-old train station, wanted to bring in more guests to view their railroad exhibit and assist in the learning of local history.
For example, the history of trains in the US is vast and contains many details that train aficionados hold dear. To tell a few minutes of detailed history to a child can be a challenge. But to have an animatronic robot tell it they become fascinated! Everybody is entertained. The best part: the story teller (animatronic) always tells it perfectly!
From the museum, “We are thrilled with our animatronic robot. It was so precious to see the children making him come to life with the touch of a button. It scared quite a few until their parents assured them that he was perfectly harmless. You can see the confusion and trepidation on some of their faces, but they definitely warmed up to him after a few minutes. There were older people, too, who were enthralled by him and listened to all the stories he told. One older gentleman, as he walked away, said, “Well, I’ll be! That’s amazing!” Many of the older folks also recognized Paul Brown’s voice from his radio and TV newscasts, so they had an added connection to the robot. He felt, to them, as if he were an old friend.”
One of the most fascinating aspects of the animatronics industry is creating lifelike representations of both humans and animals. Yet despite all of the intriguing elements of such design, the one thing that has plagued animatronic experts for years is coming up with a skin product that will move and flex in a way that accurately mimics human facial expressions. Even back in 1988, Stan Winston’s John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan were experimenting with different densities/softness in certain parts of Pumpkinhead’s face alone. Previous to this most animatronic skins made for theme park animatronics were (and in some cases still are) a flavor of vinyl that is about as stiff as shoe rubber!
Putting actual skin into the game is one of the most difficult aspects of human animatronics. The chosen material for any given project not only has to look realistic in terms of tone and color, but also in the way it moves and reacts to the underlying mechanisms that function as muscles. To the delight of animatronic designers everywhere, technology in this area is fast advancing.
Animals and Humans Are Different
When you are dealing with animals, skin is not as critically important. Why? Because most of the animals an animatronic studio might duplicate either have hair covering their entire bodies or their movements are somewhat limited. In addition, animals rarely provide facial expressions that need to be duplicated. That said, there has been some incredible work done for the very hairy gorilla-like creatures in “Attack the Block” where every muscle was sculpted and slid on top of each other in a spandex covering. Does it show under that 3” of black fur? That’s a good question…
When it comes to people on the other hand, facial expressions are an integral part of the overall presentation. We humans are trained to pay attention to facial expressions when communicating with other people, as those expressions give us clues as to an individual’s intent and purpose. So even when looking at animatronic figures, our natural reaction is to pay close attention to the face.
How Expression Is Accomplished
One of the services Custom Entertainment Solutions is now offering is our new Android Doppelgänger Replication. This service allows our customers to have a custom doppelgänger replicated for anyone, just by supplying us with photographs and a bit of information about the individual. Yet in order to make these doppelgängers as realistic as possible, we have to pay attention to the skin.
The proprietary composite polysiloxane material used for the skin must be implemented with the following considerations:
Color and Tone – Skin color and tone must be realistic down to the slightest blemishes that give a human face its character. A completely uniform skin tone with no blemishes looks noticeably fake.
Thickness – One of the ways we add realism to facial expressions is to adjust the thickness of the skin in specific locations. Thickness directly affects how the skin will move and change shape.
Fit – When we apply the skin to an animatronic face, it must fit a certain way in relation to eye sockets, ears, nose and mouth. Again, this will influence how the skin moves when the internal mechanisms are adjusted to account for facial expression.
Other Body Parts
Although the skin used for animatronic heads is of primary importance, other body parts need realistic skin if they play an important role in presenting an accurate allusion. Our Magic Animatronic Hands provide a good example. When animatronic hands need to realistically include motion, the skin must look and move as accurately as it does on the face. Fortunately, it is a lot easier to accomplish with hands.
Next time you consider all the work and effort that goes into making a realistic humanoid android, just consider how complex the skin is. And you thought skin was just a vehicle enabling you to get a good tan!
Your own Top Agent to break the ice with gorgeous Bond-girls! He also can stand guard at your party, club, office, he will work anywhere there may be a chance for adventure!
This Top Agent randomly raises his drinking arm (or whatever you want that hand to hold, both hands are pose-able) and randomly looks left and right to check for danger.
Power? No problem! 110 VAC US / Japan household power or EU standard 220 VAC is fine as well.
Hang on…what about your Bugatti? Is it protected while you fill it up at the petrol station? At night? You can actually take Top Agent’s torso off his legs and put him in your car. He plugs into your lighter-socket.
At home, in your car, your Top Agent is always on guard and ready to entertain, protect, and seduce women! Just plug him in.
We are finding that more and more students, kids, parents, people from nearly all age groups want to be involved in some kind of animatronic. Some want to play with animatronic robotic eyes, some want an arm, some a hand, and some want a whole robot.
But there is one barrier common to all:
Not many can afford animatronics.
The transition from a “toy” like the cool animatronic monkey head from years back to a full-on advanced PIDD controlled electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic animatronic robot is a HUGE leap. But some have such a passion for having an animatronic that they have bought that monkey, for example, hacked into it, and started re-wiring, re-programming, re-building the whole thing! That is a LOT of work!
We recognize the need, and know that right now EVERYBODY is on a budget. So why not make an in-between? An animatronic platform that you can immediately play with out of the box BUT also encourages you to get in the guts of it, make new facial motions with more servos, plug in ANY controller you want and program it with simple codes or even stretch it to use complex computer vision algorithms.
Many skins are available for one animatronic skull
5 years in development and leveraging technologies and manufacturing processes we have recently discovered we have a way of giving you what you want at a decent price.
PLUS you can change the skins! No kidding. One skull, many faces.
Those of you out there making animatronics at a professional level know that we typically go the other way: start with the sculpt, then to the underskull, then mechanize. This is different, but the Mecha Hitsu Gen2 can be put to work immediately in your theme park, Halloween display, research labs, etc. No huge overhead costs, no long lead-time waiting for the custom sculpt, molding, scanning, modeling, cnc’ing, assembly and programming of a Custom Android.
We will be posting videos of the Mecha Hitsu Gen2 from clients that have made exceptional animatronic displays, research, demonstrations and more using their Mecha Hitsu Gen2 platform.
What seems like a complex, impossible wish is something we make for people everyday worldwide.
This could be anything from a small project involving an android with only a few motions to a large android having many motions and autonomy.
A perfect example is a small museum with big wishes for an android copy of Abraham Lincoln.
This is the result is a Custom Mr.Lincoln Android:
Custom Androids can look like anybody or anything our client’s want.
Custom Androids can perform and have as much mobility as our client’s desire.
Custom Entertainment Solutions can deliver exactly what you want down to your last specification.
Our clients are individuals, small companies, and large research institutions.
They all have one thing in common: People are competitive.
Most important to individuals and teams right now is having their own tailored solution. In research institutes worldwide even though they are all pushing towards similar goals of human / robotic interaction, it is VERY
competitive. They all want a unique, better custom android than anybody else.
One person may want a female face with 10 different motions.
Another may want a large tank-treaded human looking torso and head that is mobile and can perform.