Dancing Robots

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

A robot that dances to music. G‚ Wouldn`t it be wicked cool to have a cute little robot on your desk dancing to Fatboy Slim Winamp provides a nice API for writing music visualization plug-ins. G‚ I wrote a plug-in that sends signals to the parallelport that correspond to the waveform data in the song being played. G‚ By setting the pins of the parallel port on and off,

Dancing Robots
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

I can control the robot and attempt to make him respond appropriately to changes in the music. My first dancing robot prototype was a metal and rubber incarnation of the Kinetix dancing baby. G‚ I took the baby`s rubber arms off, inserted circular plastic joints, and soldered them onto some 99-cent DC motors from Radio Shack. G‚ The motors were hooked up to a protoboard on which I built a circuit that turned them on and off in response to the signals from the parallel port. Unfortunately, the baby`s thick arms were a little too heavy for the wimpy motors I was using. G‚ Instead of a dancing baby, all I got was a baby that twitched uncontrollably to the music, as if Winamp were givingG‚ him an epileptic seizure. I decided to try a smaller dancing figure instead, so I outfitted this Buzz Lightyear action figure with the same motors. G‚ He dances in rhythm very well for songs with strong drumbeats, but not as well for quiet songs. If you want to try building your own dancing robot, I can send you my plug-in. G‚ Here`s a diagram of the circuit I used. G‚ This diagram is for just one motor, but the parallel port has eight data pins, so you can replicate this circuit three more times to control four motors. The motor can be turned forward by setting pin 1 on and pin 2 off, or in reverse by setting 1 off and 2 on. G‚ Turning both pins off turns off the motor, while turning both pins on blows out your transistors (I did this a...

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