Pixar-style lamp project is a huge animatronics win


Even with the added hardware that lamp still looks relatively normal. But its behavior is more than remarkable. The lamp interacts with people in an incredibly lifelike way. This is of course inspired by the lamp from Pixar’s Luxo Jr. short film. But there’s a little bit of most useless machine added just for fun. If you try to shut it off the lamp shade is used to flip that switch on the base back on.

[Shanshan Zhou], [Adam Ben-Dror], and [Joss Doggett] developed the little robot as a class project at the Victoria University of Wellington. It uses six servo motors driven by an Arduino to give the inanimate object the ability to move as if it’s alive. There is no light in the lamp as the bulb has been replaced by a webcam. The image is monitored using OpenCV to include face tracking as one of the behaviors. All of the animations are procedural, making use of Processing to convey movement instructions to the Arduino board.

Do not miss seeing the video embedded after the break.

[via Gizmodo]


  1. Middlerun says:

    I love lamp.

  2. Alex Rossie says:

    Lamp seems like an ass, which is awesome considering he’s a lamp.

  3. Mildly Impressed says:

    Middlerun beat me to it…. damn.

  4. Galane says:

    The ultimate reverse of the incredibly useless machine.

  5. Reggie says:

    But lamp isn’t a lamp :( lighting fail.

  6. Tommy says:

    Aww, he’s so cute.

  7. M4CGYV3R says:

    Once again, another potentially awesome build ruined for me by the fact that Vimeo just doesn’t work on over half the computers out there.

    • M4CGYV3R says:

      The download link finally worked without crashing Firefox. That project is awesome. It would be cool as others have said to put lights in the ‘head’, and maybe to run the cables through the hollow leg tubing if it’s that standard accordion light tubing.

    • John Bokma says:

      Firefox + Linux? If so, same here. If you click on the vimeo logo of the embedded not-working player you’re redirected to the Vimeo site. If I click on the video on the Vimeo site it *does* play correctly in Firefox on Linux (Ubuntu 10.04).

  8. zdanee says:

    I gave that lamp and amp. Lamps love amps.

  9. There are some other pretty neat ideas on the same idea. I like the ideas behind the LuminAR lamp which has webcam and pico projector: http://direct.media.mit.edu/people/natan/current/luminar.html.

  10. NewCommentor1283 says:

    wow epicly funny! +1

    i’d have put a light,
    just so it could turn itself OFF as soon as you turn it on.
    three times and it starts jumping around and hits you!

    knock it out before it has a chance to turn itself off (hit it in the piezo sensor),
    and it stays on until it wakes up and then turns itself off again.
    so it forms a five minute timer, but only for those willing to hit it (fight back).


  11. DainBramage1991 says:

    Fantastic build, I want one!

  12. JA12 says:

    Yet another wobbly contraption with hobby servos.

  13. It’s almost like an inverse “Most Useless Machine” in that it always wants to turn itself on, rather than off… but does it light up?

  14. Degru says:

    The only thing this lamp is missing is an actual lamp.

  15. Grayda says:

    Adorable! Now it just needs to hop and crush things like in the Pixar logo.

    It would be a massive hit with the Japanese..

  16. Vinnie says:

    I love lamp.

  17. Jcerecke says:

    Happy to see a New Zealand hack featured! Go us!

  18. John says:

    He’s cute. I’m talking about the guy in the video, although the lamp is cute too.

  19. Rahat Mahbub says:

    Birth of skynet.

  20. Brent Thorne says:

    I freaking love Processing. Is the source code available for this project?

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