Archive for the robotics Category


Posted in robotics, servos on February 22, 2011 by raphaelabrams

A little late, but here’s a video of me talking at Botacon a few months ago.


Posted in foolishness, robotics on January 21, 2011 by raphaelabrams

The Magic of Words

Posted in robotics, servos on June 23, 2010 by raphaelabrams

Sometimes the really hard part of a project is getting the right parts. That’s even harder if you don’t know what the parts are called. Search engines use words, not concepts.  So here’s some words!

Ball Links:

The Clevis:

The turny bit on a servo is a horn:

We’re trying something else!

Posted in robotics, sound on April 27, 2010 by raphaelabrams

Now we’re getting somewhere! We dropped the whole mechanical approach to gathering facial movement data. Instead we’re trying to use the sounds themselves as the control.

Step one is to attach a microphone. I found a nice little package with a built in preamp and low impedance output. Oh, and it’s really really small:

See the rectangle with the black dot? That’s it. The rest of that is mostly hot glue and wires that I applied, just so we could get a grip on it. It’s about 1/10″ thick. Thankfully it only has four solder pads so it’s reasonably easy to deal with despite its size.

It’s a Sisonic from Knowles. I think it’s neat-o!

Great! Now we have a decent analog voltage to read into one of the analog-to-digital channels of the AVR chip. All we need to do is read that signal, look for peaks and troughs in the waveform and measure their amplitude.


Servo control board!

Posted in robotics, servos, Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by raphaelabrams

Here’s a circuit board I designed for robots and animatronics. It’s an AVR chip with the Arduino firmware flashed onto it. It has eight servo hookups on it, and a handful of analog and digital inputs. It’s tiny and reliable. I’ll be using it as the motherboard for this project. You may know it as the Twitchie.

In this image is the battery compartment, two servos, a potentiometer with a wad of red duct tape on it and the circuit board. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s running at 16MHz, has voltage regulation for the chip, direct power connections between the servos and the battery case (servos like a few more volts than microcontrollers to really get them going) and is clad in a very dashing shiny black solder mask.

Wiggly minions, I bring you LIFE!

Posted in analog, arduino, robotics, servos, sound, Uncategorized, update on April 26, 2010 by raphaelabrams

Hi folks! This is Raphael Abrams here! I’m an artist living in Brooklyn, doing all kinds of odd skilled labor to make a living. I teach electronics at NYC Resistor (I’m a co-founder), design open source electronic kits, do contract electrical engineering and when I get the chance I try to make art.

This blog will serve as a record of my new adventures in animatronics and puppetry. I’ll be sharing what I learn, and I hope you might be able to find something useful!