Puppet Robot

Have you ever wondered what strikes your mind when you hear about robots? Do you need a picture with the metallic humanoid under the spaceship being the distant future? Perhaps it is when you start imagining the dystopian future where humanity gets enslaved by the robot overloads. You might even think about the assembly line of the automobile using the robot-type machines that place the cars together. And, here comes the puppet robots.

Our post today is inclined towards explaining a project with the long-term aim of the automated performing marionettes attained by automating the synthesis of motion imitation and human motion for the marionette system as an experiment. The performance and automation goals are required to develop the software and hardware tools that allow the motion imitations that lead to the entire series of outcomes in the optimal controls, embedded systems, and numerical simulations.

These puppet robots mainly functioned using strings supporting their mechanical description for creating a multi-scale or degeneration of the system, making the simulation of the constrained dynamics hugely challenging. Additionally, these marionettes have around 40-50 degrees of freedom under closed kinematic chains.

Choreographies for these puppet robots utilized motion primitives generally. This originates through the human-generated motions where one wishes their marionette to start imitating, resulting in more excellent dimensional nonlinear optimal control issues that need a resolution across each primitive. After acquiring one, the motion primitives should be pierced together to help preserve better stability, resulting in the optimal control issue with timing.

Overview of Puppet Robots

This robot puppeteering mainly aims to create automated, robotically-functional puppeteering systems. The controls of the stringed, classic marionettes are considered higher complete issues with controls for varied reasons.

These marionettes themselves have a more significant number of freedom which they get underactuated with the dynamics of the system, which exhibits the hybrid behaviour through the loss and impact of string tensions with the system that gets damped, which would make things challenging into creating dynamic simulations which obeys the physical realistic, energetic behaviour over the distinctive horizons of time.

Whenever the human puppeteer controls a marionette, they would inherently comprehend these complexities while compensating for it in real time. The language of these choreographies is coarsely explaining the play, and it depends on the puppeteer to figure out the mechanical inputs generating the realistic trajectories of the puppet.

They should start figuring out how to start dealing with the complex dynamics across the entire frequency ranges, transitioning from one motion to the other, and handling the errors between the actual and the desired trajectories.

Eventually, some companies are producing these puppet plays generating in a highly automated style through the choreographies describing the play in a similar manner where the real puppeteering into action. They are trying to use puppet choreography and puppetry as their primary framework to investigate the attributes of excellent engineering, mathematical, and computer science problems.

Modelling of the Puppet Robots


One of the highly essential features of the project involves the creation of software for a dynamic simulation package that can simulate the entire marionette or the puppet robots. Trep is an open-source software package well-suited to simulate varied dynamic systems.

Trep uses tree-based structures to represent the mechanical systems comprising more interconnected muscular bodies. The description of the tree is being used for the creation of the generic variational integrator, which applies to arbitrary systems.

The tree structure will enable the simulation performance for scaling favorable with the size of the issue, which consists of the complete 25-DOF model of the marionette, which is integrated in an ideal way in this real-time. These variational integrators are suited explicitly in the right way for the marionettes since they preserve the constraints across each step. At the same time, they possess the desirable energies with momentum behaviors.

Leveraging the tree structure further will help trep into offering the precise first and the other derivatives for these mechanical systems’ discrete-time and continuous-time representations. It is specifically convenient for estimated and controlled problems.

The puppet robots also come featured with the potential optimal control algorithms that can generate the dynamically-feasible system trajectories for referential tracking. The feature has successfully generated the entire trajectory of the systems through these marionettes that use the simulated references and generate the references experimentally.

Exploring the Robotic System

The other distinctive feature of the project involves the establishment of the robotic platform, which has the capability of actuating these marionettes. We have developed these systems for the different number of magnetically suspended differential drive puppet robots, including an entire series of winches to help control the greater lengths of the strings attached to the marionettes.

Each puppeteer or the robot has their onboarding microcontrollers bearing the responsibility to implement the partaking in the wireless communication network, use of motor odometry for the estimation of posing this robot, and implement the closed-loop motor controls.

These drive wheels of the puppet robots consist of larger ring magnets as there is a magnetic caster at the back and front end of every puppeteer, offering additional stabilities. These platforms, which the puppet drives, are across the larger plastic membranes being held under the tension across the four different edges while it gets elevated to about ten feet above the ground.

The completely passive magnetic vehicle with a similar footprint to the robot gets placed on top of the plastic sheet, offering magnetic surfaces for the robots to hold on to. These idlers then get towed around through the robot while driving around the underside of these tarps. The master computer gets responsible for determining the desired trajectories for every robot while sending the instructions of the controls wirelessly to every robot.

The prime innovations added to the puppet robots leverage the derivatives of motions generated through the forward dynamic simulation predicting the actions of robots affecting this motion of the marionettes. This research gets employed under the second-order sensitivity of the analysis to express the link between the motion trajectories for every marionette and the robots to build a physics-based model of simulation to aid these marionettes and the robots to gain the targeted motions.

Closing thoughts

The research has imposed a robust foundation for the future endeavors of robotic puppeteering, with researchers admitting the areas involving better enhancements, including the differences between the real-world and simulation results. The subtleties and range of the motion for the marionettes instantly depend on how the robotic system is designed. Therefore, the robot starts performing the iterative motions in the loop while the researchers wish to explore open-loop marionettes in the future.

The controlled puppet robots are highly complicated than they might appear. It involves reliable simulation tactics which can handle the closed kinematic chains and degeneracies in the most reliable network. It includes the control, which gets tasked specifically under the numerical modes and involves a software architecture that is flexible in incorporating the experimental changes while occurring.

The motion imitations potentially resolve the issue while concatenating the motion, which is still nontrivial since the dynamics are highly sensitive to the transmissions between every motion. Therefore, the entire project is better by making these robot puppets perform the completely choreographed narrative.

These implications behind puppet robots start extending beyond just entertainment. The enhancement of the talent of the robots to the varied levels of the human hands opens up their effective automation across varied forms of work, including folding clothes at home, even bedding in hotels, wielding the sledgehammer across construction sites, and many more.

Image source:


By Robots Science

Robots Science brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the world of robotics and artificial intelligence. With a keen interest in the latest trends and developments in this field, We are committed to providing readers with insightful and informative content that helps them stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in robotics and AI.