Mechanical Puppet

4-10 November, 2004
Yumiko Tanaka


The brief

Invent a mechanical puppet.


- What is ‘mechanical puppet’?

A puppet is a model that can be made to move. And ‘mechanical puppet’ is a puppet that can be made to move with mechanics. I thought the puppet with simple motion could be enjoyable, because people can understand how it
works straightaway. These are the points I considered as important things to create simple mechanical motions.
- It might have only one power point. Every motion is connected to and affects each other.
- It might have continuous movement. It should have a short span of repetition to attune to normal human perception.

- The purpose of making the puppet.

I focused on gear works and tried to understand how it works by combining many kinds of gears. I tried to change a direction of the gears and made some cranks. Then I put one motor into move all the gears at once.
On this project, I specially wanted to concentrate on finding out the gear system, so I used handy tool LEGO to make this puppet called ‘Rhino’. It can walk with six legs and looks like a robotic insect. Since it has started walking as its task, I had to think about friction and weight and some sort of physics. It was good experience to learn a lot of things through actually making the puppet.