Deep in the mists of time we used to call 2014, I posted a column on the topic of Building a Pair of Animatronic Robot Eyes. Believe it or not, this reflected my first experiments with servos — why on earth did I wait so long? I even included this video showing two ping-pong ball eyes following my finger.
I must admit that this was a lot of fun. Sad to relate, the video itself was a spoof. All I did was program the servos to rotate the ping-pong balls back and forth, and then I moved my finger to coincide with the motions I knew the ping-pong balls would make.
I paid the price for my joking. Since this video posted, I’ve received numerous emails asking questions as to what imaging system I used and requesting copies of the code. Each time, I feel obliged to explain it was all a joke and apologize profusely for my foolish frivolity.
The reason I’m waffling on about this here is that, as part of my previous column on Rolling Your Own Split Flap Displays, I ended up on the Twitter page of the maker called Scottbez1. Whilst skimming through Scott’s tweets, I saw two videos (here’s the first and second) of a quick electronics project he’d thrown together involving an Arduino, a servo, a ping-pong ball, and a small squash.
As I always say, “Show me a flashing LED and I’ll show you a man drooling.” Well, the same thing applies to animatronic eyes. This is such a simple project, but it also looks like a lot of fun. I really wish I’d seen this before Halloween, which took place only a week or so ago. I definitely expect to be seeing one or more of these little rascals sitting outside my front door for Halloween 2020, but I doubt I’ll be able to wait that long. What say you?