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Eye of the 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.

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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.
Servo-controlled eye in a squash (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Screenshots from video on Scottbez1’s Twitter feed).
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?

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Rick Curl

@Max: I’ve received numerous emails asking questions as to what imaging system I used and requesting copies of the code”
If anyone asks again, tell them you used an RCA TK-60A Image orthicon camera and that it is important to leave the orbiter switched off to avoid unwanted motion of the eyeballs. https://www.tvcameramuseum.org/rca/tk60/tk60p1.htm

That should put an end to that.

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