The Dis-Enchanted Tiki Room
2022 - IMCA 322: Robotics for Artists,
Concordia University, Montreal
Based on the Disney theme parks classic show the Enchanted Tiki Room, this project was undertaken as a satire, placing the show and tiki theming in general into conversation with the history of America's projection of influence in the tropics, particularly the Pacific and Caribbean.
The final piece was an audio animatronic assembly capable of performing a 3-minute satirical rendition of the titular song from the original attraction. I 3D modelled and printed the body shell, designed and assembled the servo mechanics, painted and sewed the exterior parts of the bird, assembled the perch, programmed the animatronics using TouchDesigner with an Arduino intermediary, and recorded new lyrics to the song.
I first modelled the shell of the parrot's body in Blender, using basic rigging and animation to determine appropriate positioning and mounting for the control servos. After having the shell 3D printed, I then assembled the shell myself with the servos, perch, and various decorative elements to create the physical animatronic itself.
The animation of the bird works in two different ways. The beak moves procedurally based on amplitude of the lead vocal track, sung and recorded by myself, while the neck and ankle joints are manually animated. Both of these operations are carried out in TouchDesigner, then passed via a Firmata node to an Arduino Uno microcontroller that in turn drives the servos.