Engineering took a terrifying turn at Pack Expo in Chicago on Halloween, as the pneumatic equipment supplier Bimba Manufacturing Co. demonstrated the air-powered Scary Guy for some of the show's 46,000 attendees.
Meet the Scary Guy. (Source: Design News)
The Scary Guy is an animatronic figure built by the Scare Factory. Bimba supplied components for electronic controls, air cylinders, valves, fittings, and filters to enable the figure to move its upper body independently. Bimba engineers said the pneumatic bill of materials for the Scary Guy amounted to less than $300.
Haunted houses (HH) are big business. I calculated once, based on the supposed attendance of a local HH, that a typical attraction could rake in about $400,000 a season. Good HHs sell tickets for $20-30 these days too, so perhaps my number is a little low.
I tried to talk my engineering friends into building one, but they were scared to try. Pun intended.
Other than the fact that it uses air cylinders, valves, fittings, filters and electronic controls, I don't know much about the components, MrDon. But I'd be happy to put you in touch with Bimba engineers if you contact me at my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully, we can get more detail for your Control Systems class.
It certainly is quite a show, and low budget at that. It may be a great marketing tool and open up a new set of aplications, with function and durability being far more important than accuracy it should be workable for a much larger group of users.
But I don't think it is nearly the first use of air cylinders in animated figures, although probably one of the scarier applications.
Hi Charles, Nice video of Scary Guy in action. What type of Bimba Pneumatics and electronic controls were used to bring Scary Guy to life? I'll definitely share this video with my Controls Systems class for a good discussion on Animatronic Applications using Mechatronics!
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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