Moving Robot Characters With Emotive Animation


About ROBiTS: Research And Development

ROBITS: Research and Development is an independently created 2018 technology and art project driven team dedicated to the development and exploration of emotive animatronics and robotics. By combining our shared skills in 3D printing, electronics, circuitry, programming, computer animation and rigging, we are working to close the gap between human understanding and machine movement through our art.

Our goal is to develop life-like and expressive animatronic/ robot characters for the purposes of telling impactful short stories. We are the first group in Silicon Valley to be pursuing this.

"We are makers, artists and animators dedicated to building tech-driven stories. "

Our Process:

To achieve our goal of crafting emotive and expressive mechantronic characters, we are relying heavily on the techniques and advancements made by animation and computer animation software. Character Animation is the foundation for bringing inanimate objects to life and by diving into character poses, rigging controls and reverse motion capture techniques we are able to breathe humanity into our hardware characters.

Images by Garrick Chan

Our pipeline piggybacks off the real-time motion control system discovered by Dan Thompson in 2009[1]. We start with either a designed or open-source robot and then create a custom designed rig detailing the joints and movement, which is then connected to pipeline that converts Maya animation into PWM movement control on an Arduino Uno. With our robot rigged up and working, we then hand the project off to our in-house animation team that builds the expression and character animation.

Meet The Team:

Matthew Ebisu

Team Leader and Pipeline Developer

Garrick Chan

Rigging and Maya Specialist

Charlie Ly

Character Animation/ Story Research

Kelsey Higham


Faranak Keshmiri


Kim Fu

Artist and Visual Development