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Inspired by Pixar, animatronic 'Pinokio' desk lamp tracks movements, reacts to environment

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Pinokio lamp
Pinokio lamp

It's hard to look at Pinokio, an animatronic lamp that responds to its surroundings, and not think of Pixar's logo; sure enough, its creators modeled their work after the Luxo lamp made famous by the animation studio. Hacked together by Shanshan Zhou, Adam Ben-Dror and Joss Doggett, Pinokio incorporates a webcam, mic, mechanical iris, servos, and a halogen globe in its advanced construction. From there, the group relies on Arduino, OpenCV, and plenty of code to give the lamp its impressive head-tracking and motion capabilities.

But the lamp can do more than merely follow your movements — a video demonstration reveals that it recognizes sound and even situations where a person intentionally hides from its camera. Zhou, Ben-Dror, and Doggett set out to give the lamp a broad range of behavior, and that "personality" is clearly on display. Of course, calling Pinokio a lamp is a bit deceiving seeing as how it doesn't appear to emit light of any sort. The project's page is down at the moment, but you'll find several photos of the unique device at Creative Applications.