Jimmy Watson saved all his paper round money for eleven months to buy himself a robot for Christmas





London's Natural History Museum exhibit



MUSEUM PIECE - The Natural History Museum in London uses animatronic models of dinosaurs to bring their displays to life and entertain visitors. The trend continues to make this one of the fastest growing business areas for young engineers to get their teeth into.






Australian billionaire reveals plans for real life Jurassic Park filled with ROBOT dinosaurs. The eccentric Australian billionaire behind plans to recreate the Titanic has revealed his latest project - a Jurassic Park style theme park filled with robotic dinosaurs.

Clive Palmer has ordered more than 100 mechanical dinosaurs from China, to install in his Palmer Coolum Resort.

He already has a life sized T-Rex, with a 20-metre long and 3.5-metre high Deinosuchus, a crocodile-like creature, due to arrive by the end of next month.

The animals, which will be displayed in the woodlands around the resort, will sway their tails, heave their chests and blink.

'At @PalmerCoolum resort we'll have the world's biggest dinosaur exhibit, with 165 animatronic dinosaurs,' the mining magnate tweeted.

Mr Palmer made an application to the Sunshine Coast Council last year to turn part of the Coolum resort's golf course into a dinosaur park.

The first dinosaur to be installed, called Jeff, widely seen as a dig at Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, oversaw the 2012 PGA Championship at Coolum.

Mr Palmer said the next shipment would include a 1200 kilogram brachiosaurus and a 7 metre tall mamenchisaurus - both tall plant-eating reptiles.







'The Deinosuchus, whose name translates as 'terrible crocodile', was one of the biggest prehistoric crocodiles that ever lived,' the statement announcing the latest addition said.

'Apart from its sheer size, the Deinosuchus is very similar to today's crocodiles, illustrating how little evolution has taken place in the species over millions of years.'

The first remains of a Deinosuchus were discovered in North Carolina in the 1850s, but fossils of the massive predator have been found in Mexico and ten US states, including Texas, Montana, and many along the east coas

The massive reptile will begin the journey to his new home in Coolum this weekend and is expected to arrive by the end of April.

Earlier this year the mining magnate from Australia has announced plans to build an exact replica of the original Titanic ship with a view to offering holiday cruises on the ill-fated liner's original route from Southampton to New York.

The nine-deck, 840-room ship will be constructed to the same dimensions as the Belfast-built White Star Liner - 270 metres long, 53 metres high and weighing 40,000 tonnes. 

Built in China, Titanic II will also remain faithful to the classifications of the original ship with passengers able to buy first, second and third class tickets.

A maiden voyage is planned for 2016 from Southampton to New York.

Palmer said: 'Since we announced our plan in April we've had a huge amount of interest, particularly from people wanting to know how they can secure a booking for the maiden voyage, along with commercial sponsors.'

Titanic II will seek to closely match the design of original vessel, which sank on the fifth day of its maiden voyage in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

It will boast the same interiors, and even the same onboard gymnasium, complete with Edwardian exercise machines.

The grand staircase, smoking room, Cafe Parisien and various dining rooms will also be recreated, as will the reading and writing room, the swimming pool and Moorish-influenced Turkish baths.

More than 1,300 passengers perished when the Titanic hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage on April 12, 1912.

Earlier this year, a memorial cruise carrying relatives of Titanic victims among its 1,309 passengers, the same number as on the doomed ship – set sail from Southampton for the Titanic’s wreck site.






JACKSONVILLE MARCH 2013 - Something very old has inspired something new at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The DinoTrek exhibit, which features 21 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, will be introduced with a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The festivities include a puppet show, caricature artist and photo opportunities with Jazoo, the zoo’s mascot.

The exhibit will continue through June 30, said Gina Stiles, zoo spokeswoman.

The exhibit entrance is at the back gate of the Trout River Lodge. Stiles said visitors pass through a Jurassic Park-like gate, follow a foggy path to a moat, cross over on a floating dock and enter a heavily wooded area where the dinosaurs move, roar and snarl. DinoTrek also offers a dig site when kids can excavate fossils.

The exhibit is a nearly all-new version of DinoAlive!, which came to the zoo in 2011, Stiles said. It was created by Billings Productions Inc., which provides life-size animatronic dinosaurs for zoos, museums and theme parks.

Admission to DinoTrek is $3 for zoo members and $3.50 for non-members in addition to regular zoo admission of $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for children (ages 3 to 12) and $12.95 for seniors. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s located at 370 Zoo Parkway, off Heckscher Drive. For more, call (904) 757-4463.







DAILY MAIL 7 OCT 2014 - From an eerie-looking android to a smartphone-controlled dinosaur, Japanese companies are out in full force to demonstrate their robotic prowess.

The technology is being shown by exhibitors at Ceatec 2014 in Japan, which is taking place in Chiba, near Tokyo until October 11.

One of the most popular devices is TE Connectivity's dinosaur robot, the TE Saurus, which lets users experience a close encounter with a 6ft 11 (2.1 metre-tall) reptile droid.

A smartphone application makeS the dinosaur walk or jump, while a shake of the smartphone prompts the TE Saurus to bark. TE Saurus can also play trivia games as users answer questions through the app.







OREGON ZOO, AUGUST 2011 - Oregon Zoo guests reported seeing several dinosaurs along a wooded trail in the park. Witnesses have described close calls with the gigantic beasts. Stories have even emerged of people being spit upon and slobbered on by certain species. Although it is unconfirmed at this time, there is word that there may be a T-Rex in the area. Even so, there have been no injured guests, and all people who have entered the path have been accounted for.







T REX - The head of the most feared of all dinosaurs, a full size replica to keep you in awe of our pre-history.





OCT 2012 - You can see animatronic dinosaurs at Disney World and traveling exhibits, but these dinosuars are static — they don't move around much.

Walking with Dinosaurs Live — The Arena Spectacular is a travelling theater production that breaks new ground, with dinosaurs that walk and even run. The animatronic figures in Walking with Dinosaurs Live are electronically controlled puppets that mimic the movements of a puppeteer positioned off-stage or inside the dinosaur. Smaller animatronic figures, like the baby tyrannosaurus rex in this video, have a puppeteer inside who provides mobility and also controls body movements of the figure. Larger figures, such as an adult T-rex, are controlled offstage. This video shows the promotional trailer of the show. Batteries and a hydraulic power unit are hidden in a ground effect that also supports the weight of the larger figures. A person in the video provides a scale reference so you can see how huge these things are.

Here's another fun video that shows a young T-rex being presented as a trained wild animal. You can even see a "trainer" standing alongside the figure to ensure it doesn't get out of control.

According to Sonny Tilders, a designer at Walking with Dinosaurs Live, "We use a system called muscle bags, which gives these creatures their authenticity and makes the audience feel they’re watching flesh and blood weighing six, eight or even 20 tons, come to life in front of their eyes. The muscle bags are made from stretch mesh fabric and filled with polystyrene balls, stretched across moving points on the body. These contract and stretch in the same manner that muscle, fat, and skin does on real creatures.

"The puppeteers use voodoo rigs to make many of the dinosaurs move. They are miniature versions of the dinosaurs with the same joints and range of movement as their life-sized counterparts. The puppeteer manipulates the voodoo rig, and these actions are interpreted by computer and transmitted wirelessly to make the hydraulic cylinders in the actual dinosaur replicate the action. A driver hidden below the animal, helping to maneuver it around the arena."







WALKING DINOSAURS - Not robots, but giant life size animatronic puppets that are operated by humans, in or under the rather good artwork.






Over the past two decades CGI has become increasingly prominent in films and television, and along the way animatronic special effects have gradually been consigned to the history books. When the BBC aired Walking With Dinosaurs in 1999, the bar for CGI in television programmes was well and truly raised.

However, in 2007 the prehistoric cast of Walking With Dinosaurs swapped TV for live theatre, this time using state-of-the-art animatronics technology to bring the dinosaurs to life. Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular has been touring the globe ever since, and from July this year the production has been travelling around the UK, before it finishes its run this month. Essentially, it is an adaptation of the TV show: a 90-minute live-action documentary from the ages when dinosaurs ruled the world.In total, 20 dinosaurs make up the show's cast, ranging from the towering brachiosaurus to the tiny utahraptors. The smallest five dinosaurs are basically men in suits, albeit highly elaborate ones. Predators or xenomorphs, these are not. But the technology that leaves most jaws gaping at the arena shows is in the large dinosaurs – which took four years of research and development.

"They follow anatomical and biology parallels" of the dinosaurs' structures, says Sonny Tilders – whose official title is creature designer. "The bones are generally made of steel. Then they have these 'muscle bags': stretchable netting filled with styrene beads. They make the shape of a bicep or whatever, and stretch between the two parts of the moving limbs. As the dinosaurs move, and as a limb moves, it's actually changing shape. It does what a real limb does."




Animatronic tyranosaurus rex for jurassic park movie



2015 MOVIE - Jurassic World is a sci-fi terror adventure film set 22 years after the events of the first Jurassic Park movie. When a terrifying new hybrid Dinosaur breaks free from its compound, the park is sprung into chaos and visitors must fight for their survival, or face extinction.

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, written by Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jason Schwartzman, Omar SY, Irrfan Khan, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Katie McGrath, Lauren Lapkus, Jurassic World hit theaters June 12th, 2015.






In addition to the muscle sacks and metal frames, the three largest dinosaurs – the tyrannosaurus rex and two brachiosaurs – are also made from fan-forced inflatable sacks, similar to car airbags. These sacks account for such a large volume of the biggest dinosaurs, they are actually 90% inflatable, greatly lowering their weight and also meaning they can be deflated for transport and storage.Two principal technological advances make the show's dinosaurs so much better than previous animatronics creations. First: the hydraulics. The designers pondered what mechanisms could move something so big, yet make it look natural. "Hydraulics came up as the thing that was most appropriate," says Tilders. "But the problem was they are designed to deal with large forces at high precision, and we didn't need the rigidity that makes hydraulics look so robotic."

Although pessimistic hydraulics manufacturers told Tilders his ambitions were impossible, they continued researching regardless. "Somehow we managed to do it. We managed to develop a hydraulics system akin to the way muscles work. That fluid, organic movement – I don't think that's really been done before."

The second, and biggest, hurdle was the dinosaurs' skin. It needed to look convincing, endure show after show and be very lightweight. "The skin is a big surface area," says Tilders. "For our first build of all the dinosaurs we used almost 3km of Lycra to construct the skins. That's a huge weight deficit. It's one of our biggest components. You'd think it's the steel and all the other things – in fact, it's the skin."

But is it purely Lycra? Surely anyone could have figured that one out? Tilders is keen to keep his tricks up his sleeve: "The skin is just Lycra but we do something special to it, which I can't tell you about."

Three operators are required to control a large dinosaur. In between the legs of each one is a chassis where a driver sits; they are responsible for driving their dinosaur around the arena and making sure it is functioning properly. Tilders says they're like "onboard engineers".











The dinosaurs' most complex movements fall to external puppeteers situated off-stage. These are known in the industry as "voodoo operators" – because whatever move they make, the dinosaur will too. They control the robots via radio controllers. Each has a "Waldo rig" – another industry phrase for the system used to transmit motion to the remote puppet. In this case, the rig is a lever and handle which translates the operator's arm movements into dinosaur actions.

"We have a lead voodoo operator who operates the head, neck, tail, – basically all the gross body movements," says the show's head of creatures, Michael Hamilton. "Then you have the auxiliary operator who operates things to do with the eyes, the blinking, the mouth, all of the sound effects."

"It actually looks like something out of Robocop," he says. "The voodoo operators have a cradle that they rest their right arm on, which operates the body. Then you've got what looks like a spine coming off the top of that cradle, which operates anything to do with the neck and head... It's interesting watching the guys up in the rig. They kind of do a dance in the voodoo lounge: moving and jigging around."

Each group of three forms part of a much bigger team of puppeteers, along with the actors in suits who run among the towering animatronic dinosaurs. The nightly shows are highly complex routines that rely on precise synchronization among the actors, not just technological brilliance conjured up behind the scenes.




All this technology would mean little if the subject were not compelling to watch. But, put simply, dinosaurs are cool. It's the reason primary school children are taught about them rather than the origins of penicillin, the reason tourists flock to the Natural History Museum, and it's the reason the Arena Spectacular is so successful – the US show has made $110m (£66m) since July 2007. "I think dinosaurs are a bit of a no-brainer," says Tilders. "They are instantly appealing to a certain generation. The dinosaurs are the key to it all."

And this success looks set to continue for Tilders, Hamilton and their team. An animatronics production of King Kong is in the pipeline and they're also working with Dreamworks Animations to adapt a live show of the studio's upcoming movie How to Train Your Dragon.

"I've often thought animatronics died an earlier death than it had to," says Tilders. But the Arena Spectacular has "opened up a new genre: this combination of high-tech puppetry and live entertainment". The future of animatronics looks brighter than it has been for a long while. The special effects that were once on the brink of extinction have found a new lease of life.






TIGER BEETLE JAWS - Not a dinosaur, but very prehistoric looking and deadly to other insects who share the beach with these amazingly rapid Australian runners.










A prehistoric giant ant hatches from a frozen egg to create havoc



MOVIE IDEA - Movie idea, lurking beneath the Antarctic ice is a discovery that scientists will die for. This story is now the subject of a low budget pilot to be produced in Sussex in the UK with help from amateur dramatic groups. The promoters are looking for youtube partners and sponsors.







PREHISTORIC DESIGN - Ants are fabulous fighting machines and relatively unchanged for millions of years.








Artwork for Sectasaur, a story about a giant insect discovered as the Antarctic thaws



A Sectasaur™ (thawed) - now on permanent display at Herstmonceux Museum, in Sussex, England.














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