The times are a’changing, and with that in mind, the traditional White House Christmas tours will have a modernized twist this year — robotic replicas of presidential dogs Bo and Sunny Obama, which will greet visitors as they arrive.
Don’t go picturing some sort of mind-blowing electronic gadgetry, though. We’re talking about a couple of fairly simple devices constructed of chicken wire, rubber bands, and ribbon.
First, “robot skeletons” were built with a wire frame. The wire was then wrapped in black ribbon, giving the creations a furry appearance.
Each dog, built by two separate teams, has its own personality. “Bo-Bot” can move its head back and forth, while “Sunny-Bot” has infrared motion sensors in its eyes that make its head turn toward people who are approaching.
Rubber bands act as ligaments to make Sunny’s head move more freely.
Barking animation was considered, but that idea was tossed, in fear of frightening young visitors. (Portuguese water dogs have a powerful bark!)
Plans are already underway for next year’s add-ons — animated ligaments that allow the robotic figures to jump and move their paws.
Source: Daily Mail