The Wonderful World of Animatronics and Robotics


Animatronics and Robotics… In most minds these are two completely different topics. “Animatronics” used to refer to a mechanical, perhaps mechatronic “gag” or puppet that had some mechanisms in it. True, it is a large and very loose definition.

From complex large scale hydraulics and extremely sensitive control systems for large dinosaurs to “Bun Raku” rod puppetry I have seen (and been responsible for making) a lot of “animatronics”.

Bun Raku

Bun Raku - Traditional Japanese Puppet Theater

“Robotics” we think of usually as a highly complex specialized system that involves system architecture, control theory, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, systems integration, and many times YEARS to produce something that is not presented to us as a hobby kit.

Take another look…

Custom Entertainment Solutions

Custom Entertainment Solutions

Roboticists themselves have a hard time nailing down the term. Wikipedia defines it as “The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are usually referred to as bots.” [23] There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior — especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals. “

How exactly does this differ from “animatronics” as we know them today?

In the custom animatronic designs we create at Custom Entertainment Solutions nearly all of the systems require at least one microprocessor to move many mechanical limbs to emulate a living creature. Or even control a robotic figure.

The future will produce not just more “robots”, but interactive advanced mechatronic creations that will emulate us. Androids, simulacrum, bots, automatons, “skin jobs”, all good names. I propose a new one:

“Animatronic Robotics”

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