Pixar’s Luxo Jr. mascot first appeared in 1986 short film of the same name. But it was Pixar’s production logo in their first full-length movie, 1995's Toy Story, that made Luxo Jr. a pop culture icon. Toy Story was the first feature-length film that was completely computer-animated, and it went on to be nominated for three academy awards and won a Special Achievement Academy Award. Since then, Luxo Jr. has appeared in every Pixar production logo. To celebrate the adorable anthropomorphized lamp, Dheera Venkatraman has built a robotic Luxo Jr. that can actually hop around.
Luxo Jr. was originally designed by Pixar’s John Lasseter for a computer animation motion study. The character was modeled after a real lamp, made by a company called Luxo, that Lasseter had on his desk. Venkatraman replicated Luxo Jr.’s design as faithfully as possible so it could be 3D-printed, and his robot looks very much like the character you all know and love. Some small sacrifices to the design had to be made in order to accommodate the robot’s servos, which the Luxo Jr. character didn’t possess. But the robot is still instantly recognizable as Pixar’s mascot.
What makes the robot especially impressive is that it can actually hop — or at least it will be able to soon. For now, it mostly just scoots and then shakes its head in shame at not being able to really hop. Some more work will need to be done to speed up the motors to make it actually jump. The robot is controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, and also has an integrated camera and an Adafruit NeoPixel ring. Venkatraman demonstrated the Luxo Jr. robot at OSH Park’s Bring-a-Hack after party, where it made quite the impact with attendees. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of the robot soon after it learns to jump a bit higher.