Anthropomorphizing An Ikea Lamp (like Pixar But In Real Life)

ArduinoArts is animating an inexpensive Ikea lamp as a contest entry. Seeed Studio’s Toy Hacking Contest calls for the competitors to work their magic using the Grove Toy Kit, which is an extensible sensor connection system for the Arduino. Most of the items in the kit were used to add interactivity to the lamp. Check out the video after the break to see the motion that two servos provide. The lamp can move its shade back and forth as if shaking its head, and the whole arm assembly can rotate in relation to the base. The sensors detect when you’ve repositioned the lamp head and the device will yell at you if it doesn’t appreciate its new pose. It also reacts to noise and motion, switching on the LED that replaces the original bulb in both cases, and asking: “Are you Sarah Connor”  when motion is detected. These basic modifications really make for some fun animatronic behavior.

[via Engadget]

16 thoughts on “Anthropomorphizing An Ikea Lamp (like Pixar But In Real Life)

  1. I hope you all realize that animating the lamp in the Pixar into took a massive amount of expertise. You can watch any documentaries about Pixar or animated movies, and pretty much all of them mention the pixar lamp and how it was made.

    To translate such movement to real life is very difficult, to some very cheap servos it is nearly impossible.

    To all those complaining about “the wires” sticking out, really? You are concerned about aesthetics in a hobbyist build? When was the last time you made a project and felt that the aesthetics were top notch? Without spending massive amounts of money on it at least.

    1. If I make something I want to keep then I’d make sure that it looks at least ok, all the time.

      It really depends on whether you want to keep it or not. personally I don’t like wires sticking out all over the place, and certainly wouldn’t say that this was a finished project until it was cleaner… but that’s me, this is them and honestly, who cares?

      The thing with this lamp it that the struts on it are hollow so the cables could be routed inside the lamp for a much cleaner look…

      Often I find that if I’ve created something cool. even if I only wanted it for one thing, I’m much more inclined to keep it if it looks good than if it’s a jumble of cables that could fall apart any minute.

  2. i think he needs servos in the join so it can raise and lower itself too(though this could cause issues with it positional sensors, would need to know its moving itself and not being moved). but its pretty nice, also the wires thing…come on know an alpha build when you see one. a final build would likely have a better weighted stand and hide the wires inside the metal duh.

  3. Oooh, it would be super cool if the program would start movement slowly and then slow it down as the final position were reached. I THINK that sounds a bit “proportional” in a PID sort of way…maybe (I’ve never actually implemented a P, I, or D algorithm, so correct me if I’m wrong)..

    Anyway, that would make the movements nice, smooth, and more life like.


  4. Great job! I have a lamp that seems to have a bit of an attitude as well. But it just turns itself off for no apparent reason. Not as impressive.
    Just a minor question on the video title – did you mean to use the lowercase Greek lambda (L) or the Greek tau (T)?
    Thanks for sharing your work!

  5. This is a really cool project… One thing I think it could use to make it that little bit cooler is the ability to make more than one move at a time. (eg. Extend the arm AND swivel the lamps head in one fluid motion).

    Just a thought. I seriously like it as is though.

  6. Finished project?


    it does some very limited and repeated motions that honestly are very possible without even an arduino.

    It looks like an early proof of concept to me and not a finished project.

    I’m hoping the story summary is really wrong and these guys are going to take it to a finished project by using decent servos and a system to actually use a real lamp, finished wiring and some enclosures to make things look a lot better.

  7. I was disappointed that it didn’t go up and down as well. Very smooth animation though. Good job.

    PS: Was anyone else annoyed that the name of the website is “arduinoarts” but they spell the name in the intro with a “lambda” in place of the “T” in arts. I was trying to figure out what in the world that was supposed to spell.

  8. Cool, but what you really want is the lamp from the
    Peter Gabriel music video “Shock the Monkey”. Youtube it and fast forward about a minute to avoid the nasty ’80s flashback. Now that’s an animated swing-arm lamp! I’ve always wanted one of those in the corner of my lab.

    Note also that there are two common swing-arm lamps. The ones that have three rods in the arm closest to the base are the strongest (and cost a lot and are hard to find).

  9. No use? Stick it on your desk next to a Kinect tracking your head orientation. Add a model of the local environment (i.e. your desk). Use these to ensure the lamp is always illuminating what you’re looking at.

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