ANIMATRONIC PUPPET HEAD 2.0

by Justin Galley


My final projects is a rough build of an animatronic head inspired by the works of the Jim Henson Creature Workshop. The head houses three mechanisms which simulate mouth movement, eye movement, and eyelid movement, all of which react to the surrounding light level. The idea behind the project is tribute to the silly works of the Jim Henson Company; in that with enough charm put into the act, a silly or childish idea can entertain all ages.

When activated the head will attempt to “sleep” by lowering its eyelid; if the daylight When activated the head will “sleep” by lowering its eyelid; if the daylight sensor detects increased light levels, from say an audience members shiny a flashlight in its face, the head will jolt “awake” in shock, look around quickly confused, and open its mouth. After a few seconds of shock, the head will look ahead at the audience, lower its eyelid like a furrowed brow, and flap its jaw at the audience as if angrily reprimanding them. After some time awake it will slowly lowering its eyelid and fall back “asleep”.

Jim Henson’s work has entertained and inspired millions across the globe for generations, and he has become a creative hero of mine as a result. With this project my wish is to replicate that same childhood wonderment he brought us all with just two ping-pong balls and a goofy concept.

Software: Makecode & Tinkercad

Hardware: Micro:bit micro controller, DFROBOT Gravity Micro:Mate Expansion Shield (v1.0), 3 micro-servo motors. rechargeable battery pack.

Materials: Wood, metal wire, foam, plastic, styrofoam, cardboard, metal sheet, ping-pong balls, duct tape, hot glue, metal hinges, metal trouser hook, screws, bolts, nuts, rubber O rings.