Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

A event log for Animatronics Hack Chat

Will Cogley

Dan MaloneyDan Maloney 05/20/2020 at 20:040 Comments

Will Cogley12:36 PM
would the object being touched need to be conductive though?

Yeah, and it'd get pretty grubby pretty quickly

Matt Michalka12:36 PM


These $10 Sensor-Packed Gloves Could Give Robots a Sense of Touch

Machines are mastering vision and language, but one sense they're lagging behind on is touch. Now researchers have created a sensor-laden glove for just $10 and recorded the most comprehensive tactile dataset to date, which can be used to train machine learning algorithms to feel the world around them.

Read this on Singularity Hub

yawar12:38 PM
Touch is great, but having the ability to feel as if you have grabbed a hard cube by maybe restraining the give movement is SciFi I guess

Will Cogley12:38 PM
You could just slide the glove right over the bionic hand !

Matt Michalka12:38 PM
That's what I was thinking XD

Nathan Boyd12:39 PM
Disney did published some recent research about accurate sensing in soft systems (at least for positioning. It can be extrapolated to pressure).

Will Cogley12:39 PM
I remember seeing a design once where there were some servos on the wrist with cables attached to the fingers, and they locked up to restrict the motion of the fingers

yawar12:39 PM
Like batman Cape kind of thing

scott.e12:40 PM
A mechanism that restricted finger motion based on what's in the bionic hand's grip would seem akin to trying to handle objects when your hands are "asleep". No direct contact sensing, just position limited.

So we've been talking about the hand so much, I don't want to forget about your other great stuff. How's the terrifying mouth going?


This Animatronic Mouth Mimics Speech With Servos

Of the 43 muscles that comprise the human face, only a few are actually important to speaking. And yet replicating the movements of the mouth by mechanical means always seems to end up only partly convincing. Servos and linkages can only approximate the complex motions the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue are capable of.

Read this on Hackaday

Will Cogley12:40 PM
Nathan thats interesting, I wonder if that technology could be used in a silicone skin?

Nathan Boyd12:41 PM
Yeah it could. That's kinda the point. You can technically extrapolate their optimization pipeline for other sensor setups.

Will Cogley12:41 PM
Thanks the mouth is going well, currently it takes a typed sentence and converts it into phonemes using a python script. I'd love to try using it with motion tracking too sometime, I've been looking into open source mouth motion tracking

rob.palmer123412:42 PM
the mouth is great! i finished building it last week! my goal is to hook it up to a raspberry pi, running alexa. and have a sort of animatronic alexa

Jarrett12:42 PM
what do you do with those old projects? Is it just sitting on a shelf, ready to talk at people?

Will Cogley12:43 PM
Nathan Yeah that's interesting because it could potentially also be used to find the joint angles in the fingers, which would eliminate the need for a rotary sensor in all the fingers

Will Cogley12:43 PM
Rob that sounds great I'd love to see it working with an alexa

Will Cogley12:44 PM
Yeah at the minute my mouth is in its rabbit sat on my desk looking at me :) Often I break them down and recycle the parts though

When I was researching that article, I was amazed to see how few muscles the human face actually has. You'd figure there's be more given the number of degrees of freedom a face has, but you might actually have more servos than muscles there.

Will Cogley12:46 PM
Yeah I know what you mean but the muscles can move in really interesting ways, like the lips can protrude forwards but also retract back to expose the teeth, so I'd need more servos than muscles to get the same degrees of freedom

yawar12:46 PM
Thank you Nathan, now I got a good project to work on

Nathan Boyd12:46 PM
I mean rotary sensors aren't that hard to integrate. And you don't necessary need them in the fingers. The IRIM lab gets pretty good performance without them:

Will Cogley12:48 PM
pneumatic muscles is definitely something I'd like to look into though, the Shadow Hand uses them too.

Nathan Boyd12:48 PM
not anymore they dont

Nathan Boyd12:48 PM
that crap was hell to work with

John12:48 PM
How? leaky?

Will Cogley12:48 PM
oh they don't sell a pneumatic version anymore?

Will Cogley12:49 PM
I guess there's also the trouble of having to lug an air compressor around with you haha

Nathan Boyd12:49 PM
Leaky, inaccurate, a paint to maintain, etc.

So, the heart - was that for a specific reason? Like a client request? Or were you just seeing what you can do?


Be Still, My Animatronic Heart

Fair warning for the squeamish: some versions of [Will Cogley]'s animatronic heart are realistic enough that you might not want to watch the video below. That'd be a shame though, because he really put a lot of effort into the build, and the results have a lot to teach about mimicking the movements of living things.

Read this on Hackaday

Will Cogley12:53 PM
Yeah I'd always wanted to do an animatronic heart, but an artist in Romania bought one from me after I'd finished, I'm looking forward to see what he makes with it!

Georgi12:54 PM
Do you plan on making an animatronic leg?

Matt Michalka12:54 PM
What got you interested in animatronics?

Will Cogley12:55 PM
I actually worked on a prosthetic knee as a prototype but I don't think I'll take it any further, I feel like legs don't have the same cool factor as arms :)

Will Cogley12:56 PM
Not sure really Matt, I've always been into robots but also biology and art - animatronics is like the perfect compromise of all three!

Nicolas Tremblay12:56 PM
Not really, giving the boot to someone isn't as fun as giving them the finger

Will Cogley12:56 PM
But also I've been super inspired by Karl Gallivan, Gustav Hoegan and others

John12:58 PM
Got to run, thank you Will, great links to follow up on. Keep up the great work!

Matt Michalka12:58 PM
Yea, it's a great way to combine all 3. The heart is really fantastic in a super creepy way

Matt Michalka12:59 PM
What was your first attempt at making an animatronic?

Will Cogley1:00 PM
Well I've had the hand project in my head since I was about 17. The first "prototype" was made out of scrap and wittled wood with bike brake cables, It didn't work out so well haha

Well, we're at the top of the hour, so we'll have to let Will get back to work. I want to thanks him for stopping by and talking with us today - I really admire the build quality you manage, and your information sharing has been great too. And thanks to everyone else for turning out with such great questions and comments.

FYI, I'll post a transcript on the Chat in a few minutes, in case anyone missed anything.

Boian Mitov1:01 PM
Thank you @Will Cogley Great work!

Will Cogley1:01 PM
Thanks for having me guys, and thanks for the chat! I've got some very interesting links to look through !

scott.e1:01 PM
Thanks for the insight into your projects.

Matt Michalka1:01 PM
Thanks @Will Cogley!

Boian Mitov1:01 PM
And thank you @Dan Maloney for organizing the chat!

And don't forget - it's Hackaday Prize time again! We'll be talking about that next week:


2020 Hackaday Prize Hack Chat

Majenta Strongheart will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at noon Pacific Time. Time zones got you down? Here's a handy time converter! It hardly seems possible, but the Hackaday Prize, the world's greatest hardware design contest, is once more at hand.

Read this on Hackaday

Nicolas Tremblay1:02 PM
Thanks Will, veryninformative