MrScorp, technoart sculpture that animates

Craft & Design Technology
MrScorp, technoart sculpture that animates

While I really like a lot of the “mechanical animism” folk-art sculpture that’s out there — people making robot sculptures out of found objects and retro appliances, comical scenes and dioramas using electronic components, cellphone charms and jewelry made out of electronic parts, etc. Most of it’s immobile. Silent. So, I particularly like this scorpion made from ICs and discrete components by Flickr member iamgeekhearmeroar. Here are the details:

A “brain” PCB is glued underneath the DIP IC body. It controls all the LEDs and generates MrScorp’s voice. The PCB contains an Atmel ATtiny26 microcontroller, a 32kHz high-pass filter to filter out ambient light from the IR detector, a 32Kx8 SPI EEPROM for audio clip storage, and a low power oscillator. The oscillator is used to wake up the microcontroller from a low power state at a 4Hz rate. Each time the microcontroller wakes up, it uses the IR emitter/detector pair to “see” if anything is in front of MrScorp. If anything is, one of MrScorp’s pre-programmed “performances” will occur.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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