Asked — Edited

Animatronic Approach To Robot Arm Construction

I'm just, JUST starting to look at robotics (have a few parts at home, have a few things on order).

So I have started looking at the current state of the art in hobby robots to see what can be reasonably achieved.

I compared the motion of Open Sourced (often EZ-Robot controlled) InMoov which takes dozens or hundreds of man-hours to build with the motion of "Female Figure" (which is a NSFW museum piece of an 'exotic dancer', viewer discretion when googling).

The former moves like a hobby robot and will set you back thousands of dollars, the latter is an "animatronics" piece that has eerily human-like arm/hand/finger movements design to play with the uncanny valley.

Usual animatronics perform a limited set of motions (think Disney's "It's a Small World" ride) over and over, but the arms on this piece seem to have a full range of motion for shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.

I can't imagine these animatronic arms being as complex or costly as an InMoov shoulder/arm/hand build. The build certainly doesn't look as complex from the close up shots on youtube.

From the perspective of making movements life-like, this does not seem to have an equal.

Is anyone in the hobby robot community using the same construction approach this animatronic has? Can anyone explain that animatronic build?


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I'm unsure of what you're asking? Are you thinking about buying an animatronic display from Disney or somewhere to create as a demo of some kind? Or are you thinking about getting an animatronic display to convert into a robot?

Ezrobots can run a series of animatronic movements, if you like / but that's not why we created it. Ezrobot has behaviors and triggers for interactive and autonomous robotics.

No one here would be interested in the pole dancing nsfw animatronic disaster that you're speaking of - it's a disgrace to robotics.


I have some interesting information about that piece. It's was actually a commissioned piece by the artist to an effects company in LA. If you look past the crappy concept, there are some very complex moves and animatronics going on there. The entire project was built by the same team that brought you giant boxing robots:)



I'm interested in how they achieved (hardware/build-wise) the natural arm/hand/finger motion.

I'm sure ultimately the system can be controlled via EZ B but I'm also pretty sure the construction approach differs from the usual one in hobby robotics.

If you can stomach it, please watch the video again (I'd suggest the slightly less disturbing "The Artist's Studio - MOCAtv" video to minimize creepiness, still NSFW due to the gyrating lingerie clad mannequin). Pay close attention to the motion of arms/hands, I was just interested in knowing how they achieved the fluidity and full range of motion that is apparent there.

Sorry about the nightmares that will surely follow. eek


There is a video on that contraption that credits Spectral Motion. I'm just hoping to find some info on the approach to the build, seems very interesting.

Did you have a part in bringing us giant boxing robots?:)

BTW, I'm sure this build is WAY beyond my skills, but the realistic results can't be denied. Would like to read more about how they tackle the build.


@Orangejoe Can you provide the video link? I am still scratching my head trying to understand what you're asking or even talking about....


@Richard, this is an artist exploration of the uncanny valley using a lingerie-clad, gyrating animatronic female full size doll so very NSFW.

I won't link from here, please google "The Artist's Studio - MOCAtv", should come up at the top of the results.

As far as what I'm asking, as I've said "I'm interested in how they achieved (hardware/build-wise) the natural arm/hand/finger motion." Don't know how to make that any more clear. :)

Again, sorry for the nightmares.


All I can say is some artistic people are either taking heavy drugs or just born screwed up... Sheesh. I am so glad I am a logical person....:D


@Richard R


All I can say is some artistic people are either taking heavy drugs or just born screwed up... Sheesh. I am so glad I am a logical person.... Grin

I assume present company excluded?:D

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Just google animatronic schematics and I'm sure you'll find plans or how-to's...I'm quite sure the one you're referring to are all cable controlled with servos. Usually that achieves fluid motion, although no power or less power than's more for motion/looks and less function. I doubt it that stripper bot can grip anything...keep that dirty mind out of the gutter...;)


@Doombot... Not you dude...LOL... I consider you seriously creative and an excellent engineer... You're lucky enough to have both disciplines in you... I can't even draw a stick figure...:P


@Doombot from your reply I gather they are not doing anything special on that build versus "common" animatronics to achieve that lifelike motion, that is all I needed to hear. I'll start looking at schematics over the weekend.

My train of thought:

A 1:3 scale biped or Jonnie 5 type bot would look great with those fluid motions (which I know some here associate with "toy" Japanese robots).

I think some lifelike movement could make some robots "better" at that scale versus giving them the ability to have a working hand/gripper. It's not like most robots of similar size are carrying six packs of beer back to the user.

Then again, I haven't built or designed any yet. I'll keep reading. :D

@Richard, don't say I didn't warn you.


@orangejoe, yes spectral motion was the shop responsible. Animatronics engineer Mark Setrakian who brought us giant battling robots designed and built the animatronics for this display. My ex girlfriend works in the shop and said, like EZB, it had a camera and did facial tracking. She made the costume and said the creepy head followed her around the room as she worked.


hmmmm, I'm going to have 3 shots and clean my weapon. That was disturbing. Yeah, I, well, how . . . . . . . .