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ELJonline: Controlling Creatures with Linux

Nov 21, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Steve Rosenbluth, Michael Babcock, and David Barrington Holt explain how RTLinux has been used to satisfy various real-time requirements of The Jim Henson Company's animatronics and 3-D computer graphic puppets, in this Linux Journal article published at Embedded Linux Journal Online (ELJonline) . . .

“The Jim Henson Company is well known for creating characters. Low-tech characters like the Muppets don't need much technology, but animatronics, from gerbils to dinosaurs, do need it, not to mention our 3-D computer graphic puppets. Performing live, in real time, so they can interact with human actors and be captured on film, these characters have a curious set of needs from a technology perspective . . .”

“With the proliferation of servo motor technology in animatronic puppets in the early 1980s, managing increasing numbers of servos became a challenge, so computerized control systems were designed. During the last 15 years, several generations of control systems have been developed at the Jim Henson Creature Shop, including a version that won a Technical Achievement Academy Award in 1992. The latest Henson Performance Control System (HPCS) encompasses the best features of previous systems, while adding new technology available only with today's hardware and computing environments such as Linux . . .”

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