Animatronics refers to the use of robotic devices to emulate a human or an animal, or bring lifelike characteristics to an otherwise inanimate object. Animatronics is a multi-disciplinary field which integrates anatomy, robots, mechatronics, and puppetry resulting in lifelike animation. Figures are covered with body shells and flexible skins made of hard and soft plastic materials, and finished with details like colors, hair and feathers and other components to make the figure more realistic.
Animatronics Can be Funny…
This is an old animatronic band from a pizza joint called Pizza Palace. Some guy bought and reporgrammed it to perform to Pop, Lock and Drop It by Huey. The results are hilarious.
Animatronics can also be incredibly horrifying and creepy…
Jordan Wolfson’s piece (Female Figure) 2014 is an animatronic robot that dances in front of a large mirror, while at the same time seeking eye contact with the spectator. Jordan Wolfson’s work has been chosen by the curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach as an epilogue to the Live Art exhibition 14 Rooms, which ran concurrently to this year’s Art Basel art fair in Basel (Switzerland).
14 Rooms was presented by Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel, and Theater Basel. The curators Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist invited fourteen international artists to each activate a room, exploring the relationship between space, time, and physicality with an artwork whose “material” is the human being. Jordan Wolfson’s kinetic piece (Female Figure) 2014 is not performed by human beings, but a robot, and can be seen as a look into the future.
Jordan Wolfson was born in 1980 in New York. He works in a variety of media, such as installation, sculpture, video, and performance. Jordan Wolfson lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Jordan Wolfson: (Female Figure) 2014. 14 Rooms Live Art Exhibition. Messe Basel, Basel (Switzerland), June 13, 2014.
More nightmare fuel…
Although they are undoubtedly creepy as hell, creating animatronics is an art form…
A brief History of animatronics
1220–1240 – The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt depicts an early escapement mechanism in a drawing titled How to make an angel keep pointing his finger toward the Sunand an automaton of a bird, with jointed wings.
1550 – Leonardo da Vinci designed and built the Automata Lion.
1738 – The construction of automata begins in Grenoble, France by Jacques de Vaucanson. First a flute player that could play twelve songs – The Flute Player, followed by a character playing a flute and drum or tambourine – The Tambourine Player, and concluding with a moving / quacking / flapping / eating duck – The Digesting Duck.
1770 – Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz, both Swiss watchmakers, start making automata for European royalty. Once completed, they had created three dolls. One doll was able to write, the other play music and the third doll could draw pictures.
1801 – Joseph Jacquard builds a loom that is controlled autonomously with punched cards.
1939 – Sparko, The Robot Dog, pet of Elektro, performs in front of the public but Sparko is not like normal robots, Sparko represents a living animal, thus becoming the very first modern day animatronics character, along with an unnamed horse which was reported to gallop realistically. The animatronics galloping horse was also on display at the 1939 World’s Fair, in a different exhibit than Sparko’s. 1939 New York World’s Fair.
1961 – Heinrich Ernst develops the MH-1, a computer operated mechanical hand. MIT
1961 – Walt Disney coins the term audio-animatronics and begins developing modern animatronics technology.
1963 – The first animatronics created by Disney are the Enchanted Tiki Birds., Disneyland
1963 – The first animatronics figure of a person is created and is Abraham Lincoln.
1964 – In the film Mary Poppins, animatronics birds are the first animatronics to be featured in a motion picture.
1982 – Ben Franklin is the first animatronics figure to walk up a set of stairs.
1989 – The first A-100 animatronics is developed for the film, The Wizard of Oz to represent The Wicked Witch of the West.
1993 – The largest animatronics figure ever built is the T. rex for the movie, Jurassic Park.
1998 – Tiger Electronics begins selling Furby, an animatronics pet with over 800 English phrases or Furbish and the ability to react to its environment., Vernon Hills, Illinois
May 11, 1999 – Sony releases the AIBO animatronics pet., Tokyo, Japan
2008 – Mr. Potato Head at the Toy Story exhibit features lips with superior range of movement to any other animatronics figure previously.
October 31, 2008–July 1, 2009 – The Abraham Lincoln animatronics character is upgraded to incorporate autonomatronics technology.
September 28, 2009 – Disney develops Otto, the first interactive figure that can hear, see and sense actions in the room.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is an indie point-and-click survival horror video game. The goal is for the player to try to survive the night at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza while avoiding getting caught and killed by the animatronics. On November 11, 2014, the second game was released onto Steam.
The main attraction is Freddy Fazbear, of course, and his two friends. They are animatronic robots, programmed to please the crowds!
The robots’ behavior has become somewhat unpredictable at night however, and it was much cheaper to hire you as a security guard than to find a repairman. From your small office you must watch the security cameras carefully. You have a very limited amount of electricity that you’re allowed to use per night (corporate budget cuts, you know). That means when you run out of power for the night — no more security doors and no more lights! If something isn’t right — namely, if Freddy Fazbear or his friends aren’t in their proper places, you must find them on the monitors and protect yourself if needed!