Robot Archaeology: Disney’s Audio-Animatronics @disneyparks @disney #AudioAnimatronics @DisneyCareers

To many people, Disney is synonymous with Audio-Animatronics — robots that move and make sounds in sync with talking or singing motions.

Audio-Animatronics (Animatronics, AA) is the registered trademark for a form of robotics animation created by Walt Disney Imagineering for shows and attractions at Disney theme parks, and subsequently expanded on and used by other companies. The robots move and make noise (generally a recorded speech or song), but are usually fixed to whatever supports them. They can sit and stand but usually cannot walk. An Audio-Animatron is different from an android-type robot in that it uses pre-recorded movements and sounds, rather than responding to external stimuli.

One of the most well known Audio-Animatronic features is the Disney Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction but there are a great number of attractions which use some form of audio animatronics. My favorite is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room where all the birds talk and sing.

Pictures of the Great Moments with Mr Lincoln and the Enchanted Tiki Room
Great Moments with Mr Lincoln (left) and the Enchanted Tiki Room (right)

In 2009, Disney developed  an interactive version called Autonomatronics, which is is driven by sophisticated cameras and sensors. Disney has created a robot named Otto, with the ability to make choices about what to say and do. Otto can also detect a number of things about a crowd, including how many people are in attendance. And Otto knows if you’re smiling too. But your smile will be obvious if you’re a lover of things high-tech.

otto autonomotronic
Otto adjusts his actions in relation to the audience

Adafruit sells motors, servos, and many other parts which can help you build your own robotics project. And the upcoming Adafruit Crickit Board provides a one-stop motion and sound controller for robotics. It’s never been a better time to get into robotics. #MakeRobotFriend today.

Adafruit Crickit


Mr. Lincoln By Cory Doctorow from Beautiful Downtown Burbank, USA – The Robot, Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, 2, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room 2011, Youtube

Do you have experiences with Disney and audio-animatronics? Post up in the comments or tweet us @adafruit (tag: #MakeRobotFriend).

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

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