Imagine Johnny 5 from Short Circuit re-imagined with a human skull and steampunk accents, and you’d have something like the JARVIS animatronic robot from Steve Koci at Halstaff’s Animatronic Workshop. As seen here, the project is quite a showcase of mechatronics, featuring a sturdy Agent 390 tracked robot kit from ServoCity, modified to look like Johnny 5’s triangular setup.
On top of the base sits a robotic frame with two arms and a skull. Each arm features four servos, two for the shoulders, one in the elbow, and the final one actuates the robot’s hands. The skull features semi-autonomous control via a Banshee board, which creates random movements while allowing the operator to coordinate jaw movements with his speech. Finally, a pair of electronic animated eyes outlined here are used, giving the skull a creepily lifelike look.
Naturally, with all of these accouterments, the device needs an advanced control scheme, and to accomplish this the operator has to coordinate two RF transmitters. One of these even has a mount for a smartphone, which lets the operator see what’s going on via a pan/tilt mounted GoPro camera even when he can’t see it. Be sure to check it out in action in the video seen below. Koci notes that the ‘bot is in a constant state of upgrade, so be sure to let him know if you have any suggestions!