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Nikola Tesla interactive animatronic bust

By Daniel Springwald

An interactive animatronic bust of the great inventor Nikola Tesla, with which you can talk about his life.

Type: Artistic


State: NRW
Country: Germany
Affiliation: None


What inspired you or what is the idea that got you started?

Since I read Nikola Tesla's biography, I have been fascinated by this inventor.
However, he and his groundbreaking inventions in the field of alternating current are sometimes surprisingly unknown. Most people probably know the name "Tesla" more as a car brand.
This gave me the idea to build a life-size bust with which you can talk about Nikola Tesla's life and inventions.

What is your project about and how does it work?

With this life-size bust of Nikola Tesla you can talk about his life and inventions.
And that is actually meant literally: You can talk to the bust, which will then look at you and give you a voice response.
The bust is moved by servo motors. Many parts, such as the eyes, are 3D printed.
A webcam and a room microphone recognize visitors and the questions asked.
The "knowledge" about Nikola Tesla's life is stored in an AIML chatbot.
Answers are spoken by text-to-speech output.

What did you learn by doing this project?

I learned a lot about servo motors, joints and mass inertia during this project.
It was also exciting to realize that silicone is very difficult to attach or glue.
Speech recognition is also a challenge if you don't necessarily want to use cloud services so the bust can work offline.

What impact does your project have on others as well as yourself?

Through this project, I have had the opportunity to study the life and achievements of Nikola Tesla even more intensively.
I got to talk to many people about Tesla through the bust and hope that they now know a bit more about him than before.
For me, the project is also a motivation to build more animatronic figures.