Raspberry Pi Brings New Life to Some Old Dinosaurs

Reprogramming the behaviors of a person-sized animatronic dinosaur would have to be among the coolest opportunities to be presented with… This is exactly what [Dr. Lucy Rogers] and a group of fellow techies were tasked to accomplish for the Blackgang Chine park located on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

dino1Before the group arrived, the native dinos didn’t do much else than run a preprogrammed routine when triggered by someone’s presence… which needless to say, lacks the appropriate prehistoric dynamism. Seeing that their dated wag, wiggle, and roar response could use a fresh breath of flair, the park’s technical projects coordinator [Mark Butler] began adapting one of the dinosaur’s control boxes to work with a Raspberry Pi. This is when [Lucy] and her group were called upon for a two-day long excursion of play and development. With help and guidance from Raspberry Pi expert, [Neil Ford], the group learned how to use a ‘drag and build’ programing environment called node-RED in order to choreograph new movement sequences for two of the smaller dinosaurs provided for use. The visual nature of node-RED helped those of the Blackgang staff with little programming experience understand the code at work, which aided in their training. Now they can reprogram the dinosaurs with new actions on the fly if needed.

The Pi in the end turned out to be a cost-effective solution which will give the robot dinosaurs a longer, more fulfilling lifespan to roar and frolic on their island home. Check out this video by [Debbie Davies] to see more…

Thanks Ed, for spotting this one!

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Dinosaur hoodie to remind you Halloween approaches!!

[Tom's] dinosaur hoodie would make a bang up Halloween costume. It’s a glowing version of the bony plates you’d find on a Stegosaurus. Not only does it look great at night, you should be able to put one together or yourself in an afternoon.

He used a laser cutter to make the translucent fins, but it would not be hard to cut them all out by hand. Each piece is two sides of the plate connected by a narrow rectangle which leaves room inside for an RGB module. These are chained together and controlled by an Arduino (most likely using SPI or I2C, we’re not sure which), then sewn on the back of a hoodie.

Update: [Matt] made a derivative of this design. The plates are pointy like a stegosaurus.

Send in those Halloween projects

Which reminds us… Halloween quickly approaches and we haven’t seen the usual onslaught of awesome. We love this time of year because of the ingenuity that comes out to play in the costumes, yard decor, and scare tactics being prepared for the big night. Please send a link to your project and we’ll start pumping out the holiday features.

To get you thinking, here’s a set of folding wings used in a costume, and a possessed powerwheels to chase down the little ones. Don’t sit on your hands, we want to hear about every project!

How to be a dinosaur for Christmas

Well, this metal suit might not make you a dinosaur, but it would be perfectly possible for you to play one on your computer. Retailing on eBay for a mere $2,397.99 OBO (plus Freight for a 350 pound box), this device was made and used for the motion capture of Ugobe’s Pleo Robot. With the right external components (no word on what those are), it would be perfectly possible to get this suit up an going back on Motion Capture as all the onboard electronics are included. This setup would be perfect for anyone planning an animated dinosaur movie that needs some reference movements, or for any mad scientist engineer who needs a control rig for a 40 story robotic dino of death. The possibilities are endless!

[eBay via Engadget]