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Animatronic Programming?

ntoeman

Member
Original Poster
Anyone know how the programming of animatronics works? I know they use computers, but like what computer language is used? Are there any websites out there for something about this? Thanks for any help!
 

CoffeeJedi

Active Member
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From what I've seen on the travel channel, the CoP queue video, and the One Man's Dream exhibit, its done with either a push-button operated box which records which joint was moved in sequence, or a "waldo" style mo-cap exoskeleton that the performer wears. If you get the chance to see the 1MD exhibit, go to the back and play with the AA figure there.

In the old days, i believe it was actually stored on analog tape that got "played" just like a reel-to-reel tape player. As for today, I'd love to see what an actual AA performance "looked like" if you opened it up with a text editor. Is it readable for humans so an imagineer look at it and point out, "This block of code here moves the left elbow joint 30 degrees for 2 seconds."? Presumably they've created their own language that gets parsed and interpreted by their control software.
 

HippieCrane

Member
the audio animatronics are programmed in real time. each movement is programmed individually with a potentiometer while the audio plays and the computer reads the potentiometer position as the audio plays and stores it for each milisecond. in the old days, when programs were stored on tape, an audible signal contained position data in square waves.
 

kap91

Well-Known Member
To my knowledge modern animatronics are a lot more sophisticated in their programming - using software similar to after effects or other animation software using key frames, interpolation, a timeline and such. This data is then relayed to the servos and actuators.
 

GlacierGlacier

Well-Known Member
To my knowledge modern animatronics are a lot more sophisticated in their programming - using software similar to after effects or other animation software using key frames, interpolation, a timeline and such. This data is then relayed to the servos and actuators.
This process is done by the more advanced companies, like Disney. Others are still not quite there yet.

The Entertainment Technology masters program at Carnegie Mellon teaches this process - I met a group of students from there that recently used this to help produce an animatronic that was eventually installed at Give Kids the World.
 
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