Chatter Bot

A real time playful experiment game of chance powered social network controlling animatronics.

The project was created for a mobile operator promotion platform – which allowed users to control a physical animatronic robot using their Twitter account.

Behind the social experiment robust technology of control and engineering powered a robotic set of teeth for 12 hours during 7 days. Receiving over 100.000 Tweets and applying an algorithm to define the winner of the bet based on prize spots on the physical track. When Tweeting users move the physical character to prize spots on the track – the more users Tweeted, the more chances they had of winning prizes.

System Design

The system was designed using a series of Arduinos and XBees transceiver to control the robot and the define its position on the track.

Electronics Implementation

To remotely control the robotic teeth we developed a robust controller system using ZigBee transceivers that activated a series of relays in a custom designed board. The relays activated the DC motors on the motorized teeth chassi. In parallel the track received the input of mechanical trip switches to the detect the position of the robot as it moved along the track.

Robot relay control prototype board
Robot relay control final board (electronics design in collaboration with Andy Huntington)
Robot position tracker board (electronics design in collaboration with Andy Huntington)


The robotic teeth were modeled based on the iconic image of chatter teeth. Being created out of clay first and then combined with a custom designed motorized chassi.

Robot shell model created by John Nolan
Robot structure created by John Nolan

My Role

My role on the project was lead Creative Technologist. I designed the hardware/software platform system, prototyped the software and hardware integration working with partners for the final implementation of the electronics and animatronics stack. I developed the software controller for the physical platform using Arduino+Python.