Building an animatronic T-Rex inspired by an 80s Radio Shack Armatron robotic toy

Probably every robotics nerd of a certain age had a Radio Shack Armatron toy in the 1980s [raises hand]. Our old pal I-Wei Huang had one and considered turning it into an animatronic dinosaur. In this video, he shows how he ended up using the Armatron as his inspiration, with modern servos and control tech, to create his jaw-dropping T-Rex.

I-Wei is a toy and character designer by trade and an award-winning robotics hobbyist. Given his character chops, he's always had a great feel for what makes a machine look and feel alive. He explains his development process in detail, including how he achieved realistic head and body movements.

There were many aspects of the build that I-Wei was unfamiliar with. For example, he had never built with polystyrene stock before.

At the end of the video, he talks about the resistance in himself he had to overcome and encourages other makers to just dive in and experiment and tinker their way to achieving something interesting. I love his approach to prototyping. He doesn't do it in his workshop, he works on the living room floor, like a kid would do.