A Multi- and Cross-Disciplinary Capstone Experience in Engineering Art: Animatronic Polar Bear

  • Arif Sirinterlikci
  • Kayne Toukonen
  • Steve Mason
  • Russel Madison


An animatronic robot was designed and constructed for the 2003 Annual Student Robotic Technology and Engineering Challenge organized by the Robotics International (RI) association of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). It was also the senior capstone design project for two of the design team members. After a thorough study of body and biomechanics of polar bears, the skeleton and limbs of a polar bear robot were designed to scale. The design was complemented with the drive train and DC electric motors as actuators. A microcontroller, a LEGO controller, was utilized to control the motions of the bear. Design experience included artistic design of the bear and its shell for placement of fur, mechanism design for the body and its limbs, the design of power train, selection of the electric actuators and control circuit design, and programming of the microcontroller. Most mechanical and electrical components were obtained through recycling of old robots and equipment from laboratories.