30 January 2007

Walking with Dinosaurs (video)

I located this preview of what we can expect to see at the WWD stage spectacluar.
And first impressions are that its going to be the biggest thing since well, since we first saw CGI films that no longer looked fake. this fusion of robotics and puppetry, mixed with large helpings of movie and stage show style. And your sure its going to be a rollar coaster of a ride.

For those technophiles out there. Heres what Ive been able to glean from pics videos and articles on rhese beasts.

The smaller raptors seem to be a puppeter inside the legs and body with extra control via teleoperated robotics.
The larger robots use a wheeled sled mounted between the legs to give the animals support.
The sleds form a t shape under the tail to facilitate tail movement , without placing puplic safety at risk. These robots are designed not to fall over, and the main operator is mounted inside the robot for ultimate control and safety.
The finish on these robots is first class with painting at a level seen on any major film lot.
The sheer size of these beats is enough to make you think twice about what the future of robots will be, these robots feautered in the video are two of the smaller ones.
The Teleoperation system has been nick named "The Voodo Rig" and actually is a really good concept for controling your own humanoid robots or walking spider type bots.
The system employs a small copy of the robot liked no doubt by a wireless system, ( i have yet to verify this) and the tail and head of the robots is controlled by a puppeter in the stands using the movements of the sled driver as his key.
Like any good performance the cast has to perform in harmony and this production is no exception.
Other opertaors control the eyes and mouth from remote control.
The robots are fabric layered over a foam core, im guessing that there is a aluminium chassis in the larger ones to hold all the systems but it may even be largely steel.
Some obvious faults in the movement of the raptor seem evident from the video, but in the flight of the show you would be pressed to see them.
The buggest thing i noticed from the video ( hey im a hacker, give me a break for picking on them!) is the way the tail articulates off the base of the body. The tail seems to hang to one side and dosent feature flluid side to side motion. This may be due to the fact that the system wasnt installed yet in this demonstration, or isnt implemented. It also seems to move from the second joit from the body with a very decernable crease detracting from the overall aestics slightly.
The roborapto tail hack i did tried to adress the issue of building an articulated tail that moves well enough to at least afford the illusion that it would have been used for stabilty during turns and running. This raptor seems to have a tail that dosnt really know what the head is doing.
Again it may be that a lack of practice by the operators is the reason. But hey im going to see them for sure and ill let you know anyother cool stuff as I find out more.
With only two weeks untill the show opens in perth (my home town) its not many sleeps till santa comes early for this robophile.