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Each of these items has its own page (mainly) as well as its entry below.
Shadow Biped Flying Shoes Real Head mechanism for Shadow MilkTable, Svein Flygari Johansen Nutcracker Doll - English National Ballet 2011 McKibben muscle animatronic legs Deus ex Machina, West Fuegel, Leipzig Puppeting Keyboard Animatronic note-taker Dinosaurs, Newcastle under Lyne Facialy expressive animatronic head with silicone skin for Nottingham Trent University Shadow Electric Hand animatronic head with moving eyes robotic leg for medical research Sir William Stanier animatronic head Animatronic Squaddy and Provost Sergeant - ATS/REME Animatronic Talking Dr Mirakel with silicone rubber skin for Spirit of Salzburg Museum Animatronic Talking Butler with silicone rubber skin for Spirit of Salzburg Museum Animatronic Talking Policeman with silicone rubber skin for The Police Federation Animatronic Talking Crofter with silicone rubber skin Cycler Presentation robots for Waste Watch Animatronic Talking Celt with silicone rubber skin Hextor Hexapod robot Animatronic head Animatronic head TecFoot biped robot Golfer + 6 Animatronic figures 6 Animatronic figures, Germany Animatronic judge, Bodmin Animatronic lawyer, Bodmin Animatronic Mrs Peters, Bodmin Alex educational animatronic head BigFoot biped robot Disney's Beauty and the Beast - New-Invention Ride-in Postman Pat Van Barrel man for London Pageant Dark Ride Gaze-Control for animatronic heads SFX Target & Arrows Animatronic Camel for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Animatronic Camel for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Animatronics for Rumpus Mansion, Blackgang Chine, IOW Animatronic Camel for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Train for Pygmalion Pneumatics for Disney Pop-Up-Book, Paris SFX growing flower SFX Camel for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Puppeting Keyboard Show Computer Robot Arm Zero2 Zeaker

Portfolio Videos
Nike Shoes rehersal Nike Shoes trial MilkTable, Svein Flygari Johansen Shadow Leg Shadow Leg Animatronic Squaddie - ATS/REME Animatronic Sergeant - ATS/REME Animatronic talking Policeman - Police Federation Animatronic talking Crofter Animatronic talking Crofter Cycler Promo Cycler teaches Cycler Presentation Robots Cycler Presentation Robots Cycler Presentation Robots Cycler Presentation Robots Animatronic head

Portfolio odds and ends
Breathing torso for Jersey Tunnels museum 'Oil Lamp' for Yinka Shonibare 'Fire' figure Boxer Shorts Bingo at the BAC Control Electronics for Lulu Guinness's Cuckoo Bag Sleeping Sailors for SS Gt Britain figure with billowing cloth grasshopper Mobile Robot base Pan+Tilt cyclist figure Breathing figure with moving eyes The rising snake from the story The Speckled Band for the Sherlock Holmes museum, Baker St, London Animatronic Talking Head with silicon rubber skin Animatronic head Sleeping Sailors for SS Gt Britain Animatronic Man in Barrel for Dungeons of Windsor Moving Dead Lady on a coffin figures with Moving Eyes for a Berlin museum Shadow Digits educational pneumatics computer control interface RS232 controlled Relay Board for a PC Photographic Flash Boxes for Greenhill Photo Library Flying Magpie for Leeds Opera North Vibration Pulsers for Jim Whiting Large Electronic Components Flight Simulator concept model Controller for Lion & Unicorn sculpture for Thomas Sholtz Suit Winch Controller for Jim Whiting Atari Disk-Interface converter for DS Enterprises

In 2014 I decide to retire - but if an interesting project comes along, who knows.
Refurbishment of my Shadow Biped November 2013
The human sized experimental Shadow Biped which I created in 1988 has just been acquired by the Science Museum London for its Permanent Collection.
After its return from Robodex 2002 in Japan the biped suffered from the effects of storage and I have returned it to its pre 2002 condition.

Special effect flying Nike Shoes for a Berlin dance show May 2013
Flying Shoes The show to launch a new Nike shoe was supposed to open in March 2014 (which it never did).
I created two radio controlled animatronic shoes which 'flew' on wires from a rig above the stage.

Real Head mechanism for Shadow August 2012
The Shadow Robot Company was consulted along with Dr Bertolt Meyer, a researcher from Zurich University, by the TV production company Darlow Smithson Productions who were building a 'Bionic Man' for a program shown on Channel 4 in 2013. Shadow contacted me for a mechanism to articulate the head, I supplied one of my Real Head mechanisms.

archived -
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Special Effect Table October 2011
Svein Flygari Johansen
Am I making up what really happened? 12 November 2011 12 February 2012
Beaconsfields Gallery, Lambeth, London.

The Arch space for the Gallery is in a railway arch under the main railway line to Waterloo and the Arch exhibits inspired by the Film 'Stalker' included the Milk-Table.
Svein's idea was that as trains passed overhead a glass of milk on the table would vibrate and move as the table vibrated with the noise. However the glass had not to fall off the table!
Also he insisted there be nothing in the glass other than milk so moving the glass using magnets was not possible.
I decided that the noise of the train could be picked up by a microphone, amplified and used to drive a big speaker under the top of the table. The table top would be tilted so the glass would vibrate down the slope then by sensing the glass as it approached an edge the table could be tilted in the opposite direction so the glass would then move away from the edge.

Animatronic Nutcracker for The English National Ballet 2011 August 2011
The main character in the Nutcracker story is of course the Nutcracker Doll given to the girl Clara by Herr Drosselmeyer.
It seems to be customary now that the doll comes to life on stage before the fight in the nursery between Clara and her brother Fritz during which the Nutcracker's head is pulled off.
For the 2011 production the doll had to big enough to be seen by the audience and small enough to be carried and danced with by Clara. It also had to come to life and walk on stage.
The doll has an onboard controller which brings it to life, makes it walk several 'steps' across the stage and then returns it to being a doll again.

Human size animatronic legs using Mckibben type pneumatic muscles. 2011
A pair of human sized animatronic legs with attached controller and air supply.

The legs have two degrees of freedom at the hips, one at the knee and two at the ankle giving very realistic human type motion and with the pneumatic muscles used the speed is comparable to a human's.

High pressure air at up to 3000psi is supplied through two regulators to a 10bar reservoir tank and then through two further regulators and air valves to ten McKibben type pneumatic muscles. The valves are operated by the attached controller. A series of moves can be recorded on the controller and replayed on demand.

To give the legs the required life-like motion I designed and made special pneumatic muscles based on those invented by Joseph McKibben in 1957.
Everything apart from the standard pneumatic fittings, valves and regulators etc. was made by myself.

Jim Whiting's Deus ex Machina show, West Fluegel theatre, Leipzig. August 2009

The show was on three floors of the theatre and I was responsible for the animatronic control of all the show as well as setting up and piping up the pieces in the basement.
The new keyboard below enabled us to have 10 show computers controlling the pieces, all with new puppeted moves.
deus ex machina on Youtube.
Puppeting Keyboard for Jim Whiting. July 2009
On visiting Jim Whiting in summer 2009 I found the 8052-AH-Basic show control computers I built for him 20 years ago languishing unused because the BBC-B computer, which formerly was used to record puppeted moves, had stopped working.
I refurbished the control computers, made an add-on for the original puppeting keyboard and wrote software to run on the control computers which read the new keyboard and recorded the puppeted moves into RAM or onto EEPROM, eliminating the BBC-B. The EEPROMS could then be used in the old (ie even older) 6502 show control computers.
The add-on is the upper part in the photo.
This new keyboard enabled us to have 10 show computers running, all with new puppeted moves, for Jim Whiting's Deus ex Machina show in the West Fluegel Theatre, Leipzig, in August 2009.

see the original computers below.

Animatronic note-taker - The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust April 2009
For The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust,
Midland Railway - Swanwick Junction site
off Coach Road, Golden Valley
DE5 3QW Ripley, Derbyshire.

The Animatronic Note-taker is one of three figures set up in the restored railway Dynamometer-car 45050 recreating a scene from the record breaking run on 16th November 1936 by the steam engine 6201 Princess Elizabeth.

Left to Right are Reg Ford Sam Allwood and the Note-taker.

The Note-taker has an Animatronic head which is programmed to look at the dynamometer computer and the note pad while the Hand with the pencil moves to simulate writing notes.

In partnership with Gems Studio.

Dinosaurs, Newcastle Natural History Museum. Winter 2008
For Dartura.


Two moving eyes mechanisms and controllers and one moving head mechanism and controller for three animatronic dinosaurs for Newcastle Natural History Museum.

Facially expressive Animatronic head. Autumn 2008
For Nottingham Trent University.

An animatronic head with silicone skin to investigate facial expressions.
Each eyebrow can be raised or lowered and the mouth can smile.

Shadow C6M Smart Motor Hand
Electric conversion for Shadow Pneumatic Dextrous Hand.
Summer 2008
For The Shadow Robot Company.

Mechanical design of the forearm and wrist for the conversion of the Shadow Pneumatic Dextrous Hand to use electric motors together with force sensing feedback to achieve active compliance. Debugging and reworking of existing motor control boards and force sensors for use with the new arm. The project also required learning and becoming skilled in ProDesktop, the CAD program Shadow use.

Willow Garage's PR2 showing off the Shadow Hand.
June 2010

Animatronic Gaze Controlled head with Gaze Eyes January 2006
The head for a Swedish museum is fitted with a Gaze-Control neck post, which provides random lifelike movements to the head, and Gaze-Eyes in which the eyes move, again, in a random lifelike manner.

In partnership with Gems Display Figures,now Gems Studio

Robotic-Leg for medical research into powered prosthetics,
North Carolina A & T University
The human sized Leg was made for the Shadow Robot Co. as part of a contract from North Carolina A & T University and my understanding is that it was to be used at North Carolina A & T University in a research program which would investigate myoelectric control of powered prosthetic legs. The program was to be overseen by Dr. Gary L. Lebby, a Research Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

  • The actuators are Shadow Air muscles, a development of the McKibben artificial muscle.
  • Material - white acetal plate.
  • The leg was fitted with the control system used by the Shadow Hand
    Thigh length 450mm
    Shin length 400mm
    Foot length 240mm
    Ankle height  90mm
    Toe length  70mm
    Joint Range degrees
    Hip 1 -35  +35
    Hip 2 -30  +90
    Knee 0 -120
    Ankle 1 -45  +15
    Ankle 2 -20  +20
    Toe -45    0

  • Animatronic Sir William Stanier, locomotive designer.
    The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
    September 2004
    The figure of Sir William sits at a desk in his office reading a drawing.
    When vistors approach he looks up at them then gazes around before returning to his drawing.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic Squaddie and Provost Sergeant - ATS/REME March 2004
      The Squaddie on reprimand came to attention while facing the Provost Sergeant writing his report.


    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic Dr Mirakel and Butler - the Spirit of Salzburg Museum, Salzburg January 2004
    I can't find any references on the web to the story of Dr Mirakel.

    The figures were to bring to life the story that at a time when Salzburg was in a bad way financially, Dr Mirakel arrived there with a walking cane and a small box containing a crystal ball and proceeded to revitalize everything.
    The 'Butler' was to welcome guests to some function, reading their names from a list and moving his finger down the list.

    Dr Mirakel had a silicone skinned head on an articulated neck, moving mouth, moving eyes and a jointed arm so he could gesture with his cane.
    The 'Butler' had a silicone skinned head on an articulated neck, moving mouth, and an articulated wrist so he could move his finger down the list of guests.

    The Spirit of Salzburg Museum was next to the Mozart museum, but it didn't last long. When I went to Salzburg in 2008 it had shut.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic Policeman - the Police Federation August 2003
    The figure of a Policeman sat on a bed in an iron barred prison cell on the Police Federation's stand at the party Political Conferences 2003 where he was interviewed by MPs.

    The skin of the head was silicone, which allowed for realistic facial movements; and the controller, MP3 player and speakers were inside the body, so the figure was self contained needing only a mains power socket.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic Crofter - the Hootananny Celtic Heritage Centre, Inverness June 2003
    The Animatronic figure is of a nineteen fifties Scottish farmer (crofter) talking about his harsh life and is installed in the Hootananny Celtic Heritage Centre in Inverness.
    The skin of the head is silicone, which allows for realistic facial movements and long life; and the controller, MP3 player and speakers are inside the body so the figure is self contained needing only a mains power socket. The Crofter speaks in Gaelic which is translated by a Tour Guide prior to an audio visual presentation.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Cycler Presentation Robot - Waste Watch 2002/3
    Cyclers are three state of the art presentation robots specially designed and built for the environment and education charity Waste Watch to bring their waste prevention message of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to schools around the country.
    To aid a Cycler in his job he needs a handler to tell him what to do by using a concealed radio control transmitter.
    He has five microcontrollers for a brain and nervous system; an MP3 sound file player, amplifier and speakers to allow him to talk; and seven electric motors to make him move.
    The handler can make Cycler drive around, move his arms, move his head and has full control over the MP3 player allowing highly interactive dialogs to take place.
    In between being told what to do Cycler runs his own inbuilt personality program which makes him look around, moving and flashing his eyes, whilst moving his head and arms; for practical reasons Cycler is not allowed to drive about unless specifically ordered to do so by his handler. This personality program enables the handler to have both hands in view whilst Cycler continues to move speak and generally look alive thus aiding the presentation.

    In partnership with Professor Martin Smith, then of the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC)

    Update 2006 - WRAP are now funding Waste Watch's Cycler project and have renamed Cycler as recycler .

    Update 2015 - Some time ago Keep Britain Tidy took over the Cycler project and in late 2015 ended it. The Cyclers in their thirteen years had performed to over one and a half million children but non of the KBT management showed any interest in the project and non had ever seen the show.

    Animatronic talking Celt
    'Setantii Tales of Tameside' museum Ashton-under-Lyne
    March 2002
    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Hextor hexapod walking robot August 2001
    Hextor is a six legged walking robot designed for Milford Instruments to be the top of their range of robots.

    Based around a Parallax BS2sx processor, easily programmed in Stamp Basic, the Walker has fifteen servo motors, twelve for the six legs, two for the gripper/lift and one for scanning with the Polaroid ultrasonic range-finder, power is supplied from a standard 7.2volt NiCad pack.

    In partnership with Milford Instruments.

    Animatronic Bishop figure - programmable head movements. April 2001
    The Animatronic Head is fully programmable for movements of nod and shake and is similar to Alfred below.
    Movement is triggered by a PIR unit and the control unit then enables a Digital Audio Recording of one of the Bishop's sermons.

    Caernarvon, North Wales.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic English Civil War figure. Multiple programmable head and eye movements. February 2001
    The Animatronic Head is fully programmable for movements of nod, shake and eyes from side to side.
    All the mechanics are contained in the head which uses the standard Gems neck-post attachment which enabling it to be fitted to any of the Gems range of bodies.
    The moves for the head and eyes are recorded by moving a control knob, repeating for each of the movements and so building up the performance which can last up to four minutes. The performance can be triggered by infra-red sensors etc and can also be set to repeat automatically.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    TecFoot biped robot September 2000
    TecFoot is a two foot (63 cms) tall biped robot controlled by a Parallax Basic-Stamp-2 computer and two auxiliary processors. It is equipped with five servo motors which enable true biped walking and turning.
    TecFoot was designed for Milford Instruments to fulfil an order from the University of Glasgow's Mechanical Engineering Department for ten large BigFoot type biped robots.

    In partnership with Milford Instruments.

    Animatronic figures, TILE2000 exhibition, London. May 2000
    An arrangement of seven animatronic figures on the Gems Studio stand at the TILE 2000 exhibition, London.
    Bob Hope plays golf while Bill Cosby, Julie Roberts, anonymous, Dr Lane and Gandhi watch and an anonymous Caddy lifts the flag from the hole.
    For some reason which escapes me the Dr Lane figure is missing from the photo.
    I didn't have a photo. until 2010 when Eric Hoffman sent me a copy of the one he had taken of the two of us in front of the figures, Eric is on the right.
    The watching figures looked around randomly as people do until Bob Hope moved his head backwards and forwards to eye up the shot. They then looked to the ball. Hope then made a couple of small practise swings before hitting the ball to the hole. The watchers tracked the ball to the hole while the Caddy lifted the flag from the hole.
    I found that if the ball was put in the right place Hope could sink 10ft puts every time, on astroturf too. So much for golf.

    The anonymous figure with the white hat had a multi-directional silicone skinned talking head with moving eyes, see Portfolio odds and ends Charles Dickens. Gandhi had a wax head. The Caddy had a multi-directional painted fibreglass head and the others painted fibreglass ones with a single movement Gaze-Control.

    The Golfer was also shown at the Museums & Heritage Show, London, March 2001, and in the MOC Exhibition Centre Munich in May 2001.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Six animatronic figures, for an educational touring show, Germany March 2000
    Six animatronic figures, three women with articulated heads and three men with articulated heads and arms to populate a bus for a touring show to German schools.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Animatronic figures, Assize Courts, Bodmin, Cornwall. 1999

    Animatronic figures, part of a fifteen figure re-creation of an 1880's trial in the original Assize Courts, Bodmin, Cornwall. Six animatronic figures were produced each with up to eight patterns of movement controlled by a show control system to synchronize with audio and lighting for this 20 minute 'theatre' bringing the court alive with the sights and sounds of an actual 19th century trial.
    The Court Room Experience is in 2013 still a major attraction in Bodmin and Cornwall.
    See - Cornwall Online,, BBC About Cornwall, The Official Tourism Website for Bodmin, The Tourism page of Bodin Town Council.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    The Mech-ai range of robot kits
    1998 to date
    Educational Robotics - kits

    BigFoot biped robot 1998
    BigFoot is a biped walking robot controlled by a Parallax Basic-Stamp-1 computer. It is equipped with two servo motors which enable true biped walking and turning.
    The original BigFoot was designed as an experimental robot and then created as a kit and sold by Milford Instruments.

    BigFoot was the first two servo-motor Biped Walking Robot in the world;
    was the first Biped Walking Robot to be sold as a kit;
    was the first Biped Walking Robot which didn't use 'overlapping feet' (as is common in toys) to be commercially available as a production item;
    and was the first commercially available Biped Walking Robot which was able to step and turn.

    It was also the robot design which introduced to the world the concept of sideways tipping feet which enabled its weight to be transferred from one foot to the other. This is now the de facto standard method for small biped robots.

    BigFoot has been the inspiration for many variants, see

    In partnership with Milford Instruments.

    Disney's Beauty and the Beast - New-Invention October 1998
    The New-Invention is a steam powered wood chopping car created by Beauty's father which is driven about and chops wood on-stage.
    The Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London.

    Postman Pat Van August 1998
    A ride-in electric van for the Postman Pat British touring show.

    London Pageant Dark Ride - Barrel Man August 1997
    A docker pushes the barrel towards the public with great speed. The power is pneumatic provided by a compressor.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    Gaze-Control for Animatronic Heads 1995 to date
    A unit to enable a standard Gems head to be used as an Animatronic head on a standard body.
    Using the Gaze-Control allows the figure to be given different personalities by simply adjusting the control knobs. In addition external devices can initiate one or two triggered behaviours.

    In partnership with Gems Display Figures, now Gems Studio.

    SFx Butt and Pig December 1994
    A special effect for a pantomime in Southampton, (I don't know what it was called).
    A pig on a lead had to turn the Butt in a circle whilst off-stage someone had to fire an arrow into the bullseye then a second arrow had to split the first.
    I made an elastic powered truck inside the 'T' beam which pushed out an arrow through the bullseye and then the arrow split to reveal a second arrow. The whole arrangement was operated from under the stage and the truck had a big safety-pin which locked it in place so a stage hand wouldn't get pierced by an arrow!

    Camel 3a
    February 1994
    Andrew Lloyd Weber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    the British Touring Show. for smaller theatres. - A thinner base for Camel-3.

    Camel 3
    Andrew Lloyd Weber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    the British Touring Show.
    October 1993

    Rumpus Mansion, Blackgang Chine, I.O.W.
    April 1993
    I installed all the pneumatics system and designed, built and installed the computers and electronic controls for thirteen sets, wrote the software and puppeted all the moves for the pieces.
    2009 - Rumpus Mansion -  and
    Camel 2
    Andrew Lloyd Weber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    the American Touring Show.
    November 1992

    Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) February 1992

    The pneumatic system for the evil vines and other special effects
    for the EuroDisney Sleeping Beauty pop-up Book
    January 1992
    The book was built by Michael Whitely's shop in London and Adam Wright worked with pop-up book artist Jan Pienkowski to build the sets.
    The book was huge, with live actors performing on the pages.
    Sadly though, after the opening of EuroDisney the book seems to have gone into storage. Has anyone seen it since?

    Flower - Channel 4 opera - Camera October 1991

    Camel 1
    Andrew Lloyd Weber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    at the London Palladium.
    May 1991

    Puppeting and Recording keyboard for Jim Whiting's shows

    A keyboard to allow real time puppeting and recording of shows which incorporated on the fly creation of looping blocks.
    The keyboard plugged into an 8052AH-Basic control computer which ran the software.

    8052AH-BASIC Control Computers for Jim Whiting's shows
    One of five control computers for Jim Whiting's Deus ex machina shows.
    The computers have an 8052AH-Basic control board, a custom network interface board, 16 relay outputs, two show sensor inputs, 32 logic inputs, a hex-switch program selector and the network connector.
    The photo was taken in 2009 when I refurbished them to run the West Fluegel show.

    X500 Robot Arm
    Prototype robot arm.
    Zero2 mobile robot
    The production prototype Zero2 as sold by Inter Galactic Robots.
    A desktop mobile robot designed to be controlled from any of the popular personal computers of the time.

    Zeaker mobile robot
    The production prototype Zeaker as sold by Colne Robotics.
    A desktop mobile robot designed to be controlled from any of the popular personal computers of the time.