Advice for which controler and software

I need advice for which controler and software for an animatronics application.

at least 10 servos (maybe more) or only a subset of the servos need to move to a specific position and hold at a single keystroke from a windows computer. This is to create a specific expression eg press 1 to smile, press 2 for sad etc and there will be multiple expressions to implement.

one servo needs to move different distances and return to control the jaw when it is talking, small movements for quiet speach large movement for shouting. I don’t know if a radio controler can be used for this, if so I’d like to conect the mini joystick directly to the controler which operates the other servos rather than use separate radio control.

I need advice how I can implement this so someone with no computer experience can run it, my hope is there is a controler/software combination that I can use without having to write any programs myself, on which I can preset the servo positions to keystrokes. eg run program, load expressions file, press keys to set servos.

The mechanics of what the servos move are not an issue just which software and controler will suit my needs, thanks.


You could consider using one of our Maestro Servo Controllers in combination with AutoHotkey. We have an application note about using AutoHotkey with Maestros. You could develop a sequence for each expression with the Maestro Control Center software, then trigger it with the AutoHotkey code for triggering a sequence.

That solution only works if the Maestro is connected to the computer with USB. If you want it to be wireless, you could look into using Wixels for wireless serial and writing a program on your computer to communicate with the Maestro over serial to trigger the sequences.

- Ryan

Thanks for your reply, I’d like to know if I have the process strait.

via USB I set the all servos to thier neutral or home position in the control software, then save this

move 5 servos and save this position as a smile in the control software.

set autokey to run the home preset by pressing “h” and smile by pressing “s”

repeat this process for each expression, then if autokey is run at Windows startup and the controller/servos are plugged in, then as soon as the computer is turned on a key press by the operator will set the expressions. Is this correct?

What is saved in the control software, is it a script that autokey then runs from windows command line? if that is correct can I run it manually from the command line as well?

What about controling the mouth servo to different distances while it is talking, I have a remote control from an old radio controled car, I do not want to use radio control as wireless of any kind is not allowed in the environment I will be using it.

I want to know if I can dismantle the remote control and use the joy stick wired directly to the controller to move the mouth. If this is possible can I use the same controller or would another controller be needed. Are there any systems like this avaliable I could just buy?

The responsivness of this unit would have to be pretty fast in order for the servo to keep up with the speach.

This unit will be a simulator for education in nursing and medical training, it will be used in places like ICU where there is a ban on wireless tech incase it interferes with life saving equipment so all systems will have to be hard wired and shielded.

Thanks for any help as I want to ensure I understand it before I start buying equipment that wont do what I need.

That’s the general idea. For this to work, you need to save the sequences to the Maestro’s Script section, where they become a Subroutine. The AutoHotkey Script can call subroutines. Yes, you can run the Maestro’s usccmd command from the command line. I am not sure if you can get a joystick to update the Maestro fast enough to be what you’d like. Unfortunately, there isn’t something I can easily recommend to do that. You will probably end up needing to write some computer programs for that part to work.

Please note that our products are not certified in any way with regard to safety or emissions.

- Ryan