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Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No AI

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Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No AI

Post by rubherkitty »

It's a quite confusing world out there. Here's what I have come up with, and believe is correct, so far. Please correct me ASAP and I'll edit this post.

CONTROLLERS - brains:
Arduino comes in many flavors, but seems to be a building platform for various animatronic and robot projects.
Can control servo's, lights, etc. If operating AC motors may require and additional relay. I don't plan on any AC items.
Dedicated animatronic prop controllers such as Pico Boo & Boobox series. More of a all in one Arduino system for prop animation. Does offer some options that will not be used for most head animation such as eyes that light up.
More expensive than Arduino, but can be much better in one package. May be a larger size as well.

There may be a Arduino closer to a dedicated animatronic controller, but it seem that many things have to be purchased separate and installed on the Arduino. But this will allow you to only install the items you want.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

POWER:
Most Arduino and prop controllers recommend a separate power supply to servo's. Even if the controller can handle powering the servo as well as itself. A spike in power draw could mess w/ the controllers operation.
We will need 2 battery packs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AUDIO:
Not all controllers have audio capability and some that do have limited capacity or low quality storage.
If you want a 5 minute - hours long high quality voice, Arduino will require an additional mp3 add on system.

Higher quality prop controllers such as Pico Boo have mp3 quality audio built in.
https://www.hobbybots.com/controllers-e ... o-mp3.html

Boobox Flex will have 4MB internal memory built in plus accept a SD card for longer sound files.
https://www.frightideas.com/booboxes/boobox-flex.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SERVO'S:
We will use DC powered servo's. Either rotational or linear. IIRC< Linear are quieter, slower, but have less service life and/or have to cool after so many cycles.
Controller to servo commands go through a relay. Controller basically flips the switch on the servo's power cord on or off, but does not provide the servo it's power if using a dedicated power supply to the servo.
The relays can be mechanical or solid state. Solid states relays have longer life, are quiet, but cost more $.
The higher quality prop controllers used solid state relays.
There are also inline servo speed controllers to consider that have a set of adjustment screw for controls.
So we have a servo controlled with when to operate, how far to move and how fast to move.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROGRAMMING:
Arduino uses a system on your computer where you choose a certain servo and program it when to move and how much to move via number inputs.
Lower quality prop controls have a easy system of push button and screw turning directly on the controller.
I really like the higher quality prop control programming where you have a graph on your monitor that shows your audio file and allows you to activate the servo's you are using in live time to the audio. This also allows you to manipulate all the servo's together rather than programming each servo individually.
https://www.frightideas.com/director/tutorial

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ACTIVATION switches:
Movement, light sensors, push buttons, etc. Your choice.
I'd like to have a small push button behind the ear or something. Some controllers have 2 inputs.
Controllers vary too much to discuss a particular system. I'd like to have an external push button that could choose a particular audio file from a list of them so you're not listening to the same audio all the time without have to pull the controller and adjust settings or reprogram.

Still have a lot of study and questions on this stuff.
Going downtown. Gonna see my gal. Gonna sing her a song. I'm gonna show her my ding dong! C&C

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by MontrealDollGuy »

Have you considered pneumatic muscles (Mckibben muscle) at all? I am about as clueless as anyone on this but from what I've seen, they can perform any linear motion (pulling, like any muscle), and can even be made cheaply DIY. I'm not sure if this fits into what you are thinking about here, or have you ruled out compressed air as a power source. I suppose you could control compressed air with an arduino, and it could do away with the need for costly servos by making your own pneumatic muscles cheaply. What are your thoughts on going that route?

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

Yes, I have thought about air and it has many good points, but some bad.
The bad is you will need to have an air tank in the body and run air lines up through the neck. They use air on a lot of stationary Halloween props. I would also have to drive 80m RT to have tanks refilled.
I want to have the complete mechanism within the doll head.

I would consider air if I was to make a full doll, silicone skin over stuffing. I could have it back zip so I could get to the mechanics, change tanks, etc.
Going downtown. Gonna see my gal. Gonna sing her a song. I'm gonna show her my ding dong! C&C

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

rubherkitty wrote:It's a quite confusing world out there. Here's what I have come up with, and believe is correct, so far. Please correct me ASAP and I'll edit this post.

CONTROLLERS - brains:
Arduino comes in many flavors, but seems to be a building platform for various animatronic and robot projects.
Can control servo's, lights, etc. If operating AC motors may require and additional relay. I don't plan on any AC items.
Dedicated animatronic prop controllers such as Pico Boo & Boobox series. More of a all in one Arduino system for prop animation. Does offer some options that will not be used for most head animation such as eyes that light up.
More expensive than Arduino, but can be much better in one package. May be a larger size as well.

There may be a Arduino closer to a dedicated animatronic controller, but it seem that many things have to be purchased separate and installed on the Arduino. But this will allow you to only install the items you want.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

POWER:
Most Arduino and prop controllers recommend a separate power supply to servo's. Even if the controller can handle powering the servo as well as itself. A spike in power draw could mess w/ the controllers operation.
We will need 2 battery packs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AUDIO:
Not all controllers have audio capability and some that do have limited capacity or low quality storage.
If you want a 5 minute - hours long high quality voice, Arduino will require an additional mp3 add on system.

Higher quality prop controllers such as Pico Boo have mp3 quality audio built in.
https://www.hobbybots.com/controllers-e ... o-mp3.html

Boobox Flex will have 4MB internal memory built in plus accept a SD card for longer sound files.
https://www.frightideas.com/booboxes/boobox-flex.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SERVO'S:
We will use DC powered servo's. Either rotational or linear. IIRC< Linear are quieter, slower, but have less service life and/or have to cool after so many cycles.
Controller to servo commands go through a relay. Controller basically flips the switch on the servo's power cord on or off, but does not provide the servo it's power if using a dedicated power supply to the servo.
The relays can be mechanical or solid state. Solid states relays have longer life, are quiet, but cost more $.
The higher quality prop controllers used solid state relays.
There are also inline servo speed controllers to consider that have a set of adjustment screw for controls.
So we have a servo controlled with when to operate, how far to move and how fast to move.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROGRAMMING:
Arduino uses a system on your computer where you choose a certain servo and program it when to move and how much to move via number inputs.
Lower quality prop controls have a easy system of push button and screw turning directly on the controller.
I really like the higher quality prop control programming where you have a graph on your monitor that shows your audio file and allows you to activate the servo's you are using in live time to the audio. This also allows you to manipulate all the servo's together rather than programming each servo individually.
https://www.frightideas.com/director/tutorial

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ACTIVATION switches:
Movement, light sensors, push buttons, etc. Your choice.
I'd like to have a small push button behind the ear or something. Some controllers have 2 inputs.
Controllers vary too much to discuss a particular system. I'd like to have an external push button that could choose a particular audio file from a list of them so you're not listening to the same audio all the time without have to pull the controller and adjust settings or reprogram.

Still have a lot of study and questions on this stuff.
So here's how I view robot automation:

I am leaning towards learning how to program a RaspberryPi to work with Arduinos. The Arduinos would gather sensor data, perform motor functions, store/play audio files etc, while the PI takes in all of the data from the boards and gives out commands. All microprocessors have limited speeds right now, so divvying up the tasks will allow the system to run more smoothly and without delays. If you haven't seen the History Channel show 'In Search Of', one episode featured Matt at RealDoll. You can see from the camera shots that there's an ArduinoMini board inside the doll head, which receives the commands from the app. Replace the App with a RaspberryPI, and it would be do-able. The set-up of PI-Arduinos can be extended into the remainder of the body, so you have Arduinos with sensors and motors in the hands, joints in the body, and the other sex organs you want to emulate. From what I've read, it is not difficult to get multiple RaspberryPI's to talk to each other for this kind of set-up. Like you would have one RaspberryPI for the head, one for the hands, one for the arms, legs, torso, tits, vag, or however many you think would be best.

For the power, it depends if you want your girl to be mobile or in one place. Li-Po batteries have good qualities, but there are some concerns. From my experience, you cannot let the batteries drain below 25% or else the recharge will become weaker and weaker until they're useless. Special attention needs to be taken when wiring the batteries into multi-celled units, as poor wiring will disintegrate under high loading. Plus, should they ever combust from overheating, they are a self contained chemical reaction; you have to literally wait until all the elements in the reaction are used up. There are videos of Li-Po batteries burning underwater.

For audio, connecting your microprocessor to a MicroSD card will greatly improve the audio files you can execute. What will be a drag is looking through videos to find audio you want, snipping the audio from the video, then saving the snip-its of audio you want. Proper labeling will be key, as well as a good file structure. The labels and file structure are just to help with coding.

For bringing everything to life, there are many different actuators and prime-movers out there for robotic applications. Linear actuators, servos, pneumatics, DC/AC motors, stepper-motors, etc. Pneumatic actuators don't need to be air powered, as pneumatic oil can be used and is self contained. So long as all the seals are good and hold, you will not have a leak. You will need to make pneumatic actuators accessible for maintenance to periodically check for leaks. Peristaltic Pumps are self-priming, come in various sizes, and can handle different fluids. since we don't need high pressure or high flow, these kinds of pumps would be good for getting lube to the orifices.

For programming, it is easy to have your Arduino write out to a graph to show the inputs and outputs. You can have multiple graphs in one screen, and can watch as the inputs change. As far as having the graph display when different actions are triggered, I am unsure. Certainly when you're programming, you will look to see that an action takes place when a value is reached.

For activation, I'm all about capacitive resistance sensing; near and far field. For far field, think of a theramin, and how moving your hand through the electric field causes different tones to come out of the machine. The same application can be used, but instead of audio tones, different events could happen. When your junk comes near the mouth, the mouth opens. When your junk hits the back of the throat, a gagging noise activates. The position you are in with relation to the field needs extensive programming to lock in the different values, but once you slog through all the data, capacitive sensing becomes very accurate. Think of it this way, if the field is large enough, the doll will be able to detect you and not just your junk. You would have to zero out the field for the bed, couch, chair, etc. so that the doll only reacts to you, and then you could bend over while having sex and she says 'Mmm...I love being this close' or something like that. Because people have different bodies and shapes, I'd program some macros to gather inputs with visuals of the positions. For a near field, this would be akin to a touch sensor.

No matter what kind of sensors, programming, micro-processor or any other options you should choose, there will be a lot of debugging and program training. Read reviews of how user friendly the systems are, how difficult is it to program or what is your programming knowledge? You don't have to be making 6-figure salaries to make an animatronic doll, but the financial ouch during the parts acquisition wouldn't be as bad. Top down thinking is critical no matter what. There's engineering courses just for top-down thinking. One example for an animatronic head:

You start vague, then get progressively more and more detailed with each progression.

I know I want to create a head, so what should my head be made of? I know I want to make my head lifelike. How can i do this?

You start with the first on your list: head

What materials? TPE or Silicone? what thickness do i want? I need to know all the properties since there will be heat generation, excessive moisture, high-frequency movement.
For the head, fiberglass, plastics or 3D print? where will i place my sensors and motors? How much pressure/force will I apply? How large do I need to make the skull to fit everything inside? Should I also make my doll larger to accommodate the larger head?

That covers the physical shell/looks of the head, then you need to think about the functions you want.

Do I want to have the doll's eyes move, blink, jaw open/close, tongue move, eyebrows move, mouth looks like it forms words, etc.?

Once you figure out the motions you want, then think about the sensors and motors that would be required for each function on its own.

Eye movement:
Sensors? (maybe video cameras to track me?) Motors? (how many do i need? maybe 2 at least?)
Blinking:
Sensors? (I want to know when my lids are opened or closed) Motors? (Probably need one per eye)
Jay open/close:
Sensors? (Need to know when to open and when to close, how opened/closed is the mouth?) Motors? (maybe two, cuz i can move my jaw from side-to-side)
...
...
Etc.

Then for every sensor and motor, you get into the details

For sensors, what kinds of sensors do i need? Where will I place them in the doll? Should the sensors be on the outside or inside the supporting structure? can i integrate a designed shape to make the sensor flush against the skull? I want to sense when my junk is near the mouth, but should the doll react if i give a playful dick-slap to the cheek?
For motors, what are my size limitations? what kind of motion am i wanting to achieve? Are there linkages that i need to create to generate the motion? Will i be pulling on the TPE/Silicone or part of the skull/jaw? How much weight will the motor be required to pull/push? how many motors do i actually need to get the lifelikeness that i want? Did i do some calculations to make-sure that my motor can perform as required?

After going through all of the iterations, you would know every detail of how you are physically going to make the robot head work.

After you think about the physical applications, then you look at micro-processing, programming, power supply. You repeat the same process like before, and this is only for the head. For a full blown doll, it would take very long to thoroughly plan everything. It's why large corporations and companies have dedicated teams to projects like this. To do this alone is a massive undertaking, but very doable if you are careful and methodical.

These are just my opinions/thoughts on it. I certainly don't have the means to begin a project like this; have a job, have a kid, bills, etc. I'd have to at least quit my job and have a Patreon set-up so that I could pour my resources into a project like this, but then I may not reach the monthly income i need to support myself and the project. Or get picked up by a doll-manufacturer to do R&D. Hey toonist, i'm in VA, you looking to add some robotics to your dolls??? :whistle: :wink: somebody give him a shout-out! :lol:

I have no doubt that you, rubherkitty have thoughts just like these for your project. Best of luck,


Maecer
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

Thanks for the info!!!!!
Having never held a controller or servo in my hand, I plan to start small. I've done some plastic and silicone casting so am pretty familiar w/ that.

One advantage of a fluid system over air is that air can be compressed within the line. That's why you want brake fluid in your auto brakes and not air! :lol:

Yes, I've heard that the RaspberryPi is the Cadillac of controllers to use as a base.
Going downtown. Gonna see my gal. Gonna sing her a song. I'm gonna show her my ding dong! C&C

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by MrsMannequinMan »

I would look into DC powered worm gear mini actuators. some even a few inch throw and return can offer outstanding torgue and dependability. they last forever as long as lubricated and the make them accept all kinds of add ons like auto throw reverse, speed controlers, etc.....just an idea. MMM

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

Thanks MMM
Yes, the small linear actuators are very handy. They make them in micro and mini sizes.
Not cheap compared to rotary servo's, but when you need em....
Come in different gear ratios too. Generally best for slow movements.

https://www.actuonix.com/Actuonix-PQ-12 ... pq12-p.htm
Attachments
linear actuator.jpg
linear actuator.jpg (20.66 KiB) Viewed 3320 times
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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

So for those wanting to get into robot movement and everything, I found this handy site

http://www.robotoid.com/downloadable-program-code.html

Most files are for Arduino, but with coding knowledge, they could be ported to other micro controllers. I like that they have a sketch for Musclewire
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

Also, when I'm thinking about how I'm going to eventually animate my doll, I go here to simulate mechanisms, like if one day we want our dolls to hump, buck, whatever.

http://www.mekanizmalar.com

Gotta keep in mind that it's implied that some links are in front/behind to get the rotation. the linkage simulators show the actuating travel path as a line. I think a 'Four Bar Linkage Mechanism' is most appropriate for moving a jaw. The extended 'red line' shows how the end material moves; it would be the font of the lower jaw. Mechanisms require good perceptual skills to visualise what motion you're designing for in your system. If you need, rubherkitty, I could sketch how you'd attach this to your jaw mod
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

Thanks for the info and links.
I checked out the 4 bar linkage and they are using a continuous rotation motor. I figured on using a partial rotating servo and requiring less than 45 degree of rotation back & forth. I can't see the mouth needing more than 3/4" opening to make it appear to be talking. Maybe 1" for moaning. Looks like RD uses twin servo's, but attached to upper palate? I assume the lower jaw is actuated at the back.
doll harmony 1.jpg
doll harmony 1.jpg (38.73 KiB) Viewed 3270 times
I'll keep the sketch offer in mind. I'm pretty good w/ mechanics and fabrication. I just know know crap about the animatronic electronic components. :lol:
Not much I can do anyway until I get a skull design cooked up.
I'm think of doing:
#1 Oral head w/ Blue Tooth speaker.
#2 Oral head w/ Blue Tooth speaker & blinking eyes.
#3 Talking head w/ build in speaker & blinking eyes.
I realize that the skull design will be different between the oral & talking head.
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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

RE: Audio
I am curious if this idea can be run off a doll embedded controller or Raspberry?

Run a mp3 audio through the dolls speaker, which is a yes. But also send a synchronized mp3 audio to a set of external stereo speaker via Blue Tooth? I assume you could just have the controller activate a secondary mp3 player if the solo controller can't handle the separate audios by itself.

Here's my idea.
Have the doll singing acapella.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8pki3G_MmI

while the sync'd Karaoke song is playing on stereo speakers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke2pMbcHxfA

Now your doll can sing without having the music playing from her too!
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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

rubherkitty wrote:RE: Audio
I am curious if this idea can be run off a doll embedded controller or Raspberry?

Run a mp3 audio through the dolls speaker, which is a yes. But also send a synchronized mp3 audio to a set of external stereo speaker via Blue Tooth? I assume you could just have the controller activate a secondary mp3 player if the solo controller can't handle the separate audios by itself.

Here's my idea.
Have the doll singing acapella.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8pki3G_MmI

while the sync'd Karaoke song is playing on stereo speakers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke2pMbcHxfA

Now your doll can sing without having the music playing from her too!
For the Arduino and PI they make wireless shields. Bluetooth and wireless. They can get tricky to communicate with each other. You can have your Arduino or PI connected to your computer with the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth shield, and have it play an audio file from your computer speakers. I have heard of people using surround sound setups with their projects. That would be really immersive.

As far as I can see from the harmony picture, they are actuating from the very back of the lower jaw, and at an angle greater than 90 degrees. They have everything but the kitchen sink stuffed in there, so they're forced to use an app for their AI. When I was watching the AI episode of 'In Search Of ' on history channel, RealDoll was featured on the show. They have what looks like an Arduino Mini connected to Bluetooth to connect to the app. Don't know (couldn't see from camera angle) if they have more than one to divvy out animating tasks. Could be as simple as the app doing the thinking, while Arduino connects, animates the eyes, lids and lips, and playing the audio.
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by rubherkitty »

OK, I've studied a little into shields and break outs for Arduino.
Yes, if the brains of the AI and maybe the animatronics can be stored in a laptop and sent wireless to a doll that would be a great space saver.

Sounds like I would do better w/a Arduino Uno or Mini Arduino and just add on the shields or break outs that I need. I may only need 4 servo controls and a mp3 player. If I was to use a Halloween animatronic controller that is mp3 enabled, I'm really getting a bigger package, but also a bunch of stuff I don't need.

LMK what ya think.
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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

rubherkitty wrote:OK, I've studied a little into shields and break outs for Arduino.
Yes, if the brains of the AI and maybe the animatronics can be stored in a laptop and sent wireless to a doll that would be a great space saver.

Sounds like I would do better w/a Arduino Uno or Mini Arduino and just add on the shields or break outs that I need. I may only need 4 servo controls and a mp3 player. If I was to use a Halloween animatronic controller that is mp3 enabled, I'm really getting a bigger package, but also a bunch of stuff I don't need.

LMK what ya think.
You'll never guess what I just found!

https://www.instructables.com/id/Voice- ... ino-Shield

Speech recognition and synthesis all using an Arduino! I looked through his coding, and he leaves detailed notes on how it works.

Here's what is great: you could save multiple sketches onto an SD card, then have the Arduino run a sketch from the card! You could save the sketches as different personalities (how she responds). Only hard part will be writing all the responses and phrases you will say, but having extra memory will expand the amount you could have!

If you were to couple this with an Artificial Neural Network (which would add AI) then the speech patterns would get pretty close to what Harmony does at RealDoll! There are online examples of people using ANN's on Arduino, some with tutorials on how to build your own custom ANN as well. Now I'm really super pumped up! Matt at Realbotic better watch out now! Because we just might figure out how to do all his stuff for less than a Grand in parts! :wink:
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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Re: Animatronic doll head study A-Z. Electric servo type. No

Post by Maecer »

The MOVI Arduino shield can play sound files!!! Sorry, just read through the user manual on the audeme website.
We are truly in an age of doll expansion. Sure it's the wild west, with each manufacturer trying to out do one another and society still poo-pooing dolls, but eventually, the age will mature, order will be found and one day we can bring out ladies anywhere.

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