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MIE.38 – Animating Pixar’s Luxo Jr. Lamp in Real Life

Team Members Heading link

  • Ahmed Al Khuridah
  • Gabriel Barba
  • Kali Giancana
  • Sebastian Kowal
  • Danielle Lee

Project Description Heading link

Pixar changed the animation industry and its perception of computer animation with the release of the short film, “Luxo Jr.” in 1986. Since its inception, Luxo Jr. has inspired and intrigued engineers who have attempted to recreate the animation, including UIC professor and robotics expert Pranav Bhounsule whose interests focus is on the motion control of humanoid robots. To recreate the Luxo Jr. model, our team researched its motion, reviewed stored energy mechanisms, and previous attempts to reanimate it. We designed and evaluated 4 different mechanisms. Our chosen Luxo Jr. mechanism was designed to hop both upward and forward to replicate the motion of the animation. The design uses gears to compress a pair of springs. The goal was to use the energy from the springs to propel the Luxo Jr. model up off the ground. SolidWorks was used to model, visualize, and simulate our design across diverse scenarios. In addition, ANSYS workbench was used to perform failure analysis on both the actuator as well as the Luxo Jr. lamp. Our final Luxo Jr. robot was fabricated to reflect any findings and results from our research, failure analyses, and our early prototypes. We are happy to report that we have successfully reanimated Luxo Jr. in real life.