Sam and I have an animatronic skeletal butler Halloween decoration. We call him Jeeves. He has a motion sensor and when he is touched his eyes light up, his jaw moves, and he says creepy Halloween themed things.
We’ve had him a little over a year now, and we’ve decided it’s time for a little upgrade. He’s brought us so much amusement that we think with a little tweaking he can be a perfect year round animatronic companion.
We want to make him more seasonally varied, so we’ve decided that in addition to making some new outfit modifications that can be changed from time to time, we’d like to find a way to make him say seasonally appropriate things.
So, for instance, for thanksgiving, we’d like to make him say, “Happy Thanksgiving - you should be thankful to be alive. For now. Muahahaha”
This is in keeping with his current demeanor. We don’t want to change his personality. We just want him to keep current with the seasons. All of the things he currently says are bad and slightly macabre puns. We like this about him.
So we’ve disassembled him and unhooked the micro-controller/speaker component that is responsible for his speech and the programming that makes his eyes and jaw move.
Our goal is to find a way to figure out how he is programmed and how we can maintain his eye lighting and jaw movement while adding recorded speech for the other holidays we want him to celebrate with us. We were thinking we might be able to move everything over to a raspberry pi or an arduino (not sure which would be best for our goals) so that we can also make him wifi enabled, which would allow us to make modifications as needed and keep his speech up to date. We’d like him to be able to automatically detect the current holiday season and change to the appropriate set of recordings.
So here are the problems:
Sam is a programmer, but we don’t know how to hook up the current micro-controller so that we can see what is on it. If anyone has any ideas, that’d be great.
We have to find a person with a suitably deep and creepy voice to record the new speech we’re in the process of writing.
We need more lines of speech for each holiday than we’ve already come up with - suggestions would be appreciated.
In general, neither of us have ever done anything like this, and I know there are people at the Hive who A) love this sort of thing and B) know way more about how to go about it than we do. We’d love some input.
Help us make Jeeves more well-rounded!
For reference, this is a video of a similar animatronic - it’s literally the same product except that they’ve changed his appearance. Our Jeeves is a skeleton and the one in the video has skin. Everything else about him his identical, right down to the cheesy audio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfXs9aQQ4aI