Here’s a treat from my friend Nick Brewer. He headed out one year with his own handmade Robot Santa suit on, intent to infiltrate the SantaCon crew to learn what the heck was going on there to make a documentary about this fascinating event, but instead found himself caught up in the endless flow of rambunctious, intoxicated Santas — where he himself became something of a fixture. “Did you get your photo with Robot Santa yet?” “Let’s go push his buttons!”
Nick has been working on this video project for, well, years — and he told me proudly that he used a lot of Adafruit gear in his Santabot 2.0 suit that wraps up the project:
Bonus fact, almost all the electronics (3 arduinos, LEDS, etc) were from Adafruit!
His fun project received some great attention around the wrap-up of his Kickstarter project in 2010 — in particular this lovely article over at WIRED. Here’s an excerpt about the construction of SantaBot:
Construction of Brewer’s Santabot outfit took about a month, not including the crash course in using an Arduino board for the electronics. Arcade-style buttons on his chest controlled various features, including lights, voice-changer (“Destroy! Destroy!”), sound system, LOL shield (scrolling, “What is love?” along with holiday messages) and the well-loved but short-lived candy dish that emerged from his 8-bit belly.
People got a little rough on the cardboard at times, but overall Santabot was mobbed with admirers, so much so that Brewer didn’t even make it to the main SantaCon convergence area at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain.
“We got so bogged down with people and pictures it got to the point we couldn’t make it across the street,” Brewer said.
Unfortunately, the design of his suit was such that he couldn’t raise a beer to his mouth. “But,” Hawkins said, “he never refused a picture the whole day.”
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