Animatronic Crushes Creator’s Thumb During Testing: ‘Horror Movie’

A man shared how his custom-built animatronic injured him after some testing went wrong this week.

Posting on Reddit, the robotics enthusiast who goes by the name VT explained how the animatronic had “crushed/tore” his thumb open during testing.

The custom-built animatronic is based on a video game character called Circus Baby who is the antagonist in the video game Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location.

Pictures of the custom-built animatronic that “dug into” creator VT’s skin while he was testing the creation.
xmasbad/reddit

VT has been making his own animatronics for almost three years and told Newsweek: “This iteration is about 7 months old; it uses a high torque servo [motor] to tilt the torso back and forth—this needs to happen so bottom portions can open up and allow for more movement.”

Animatronic is another name for a mechatronic puppet. The automated puppets are often used to portray characters in films or theme parks and creating them involves puppetry, anatomy, and mechatronics skills.

Perhaps most famously used in movies like Jurassic Park, ET the Extraterrestrialand Jawswhile CGI technology has meant that they are used less in the movies, they are still a popular feature at theme parks including Disneyland, where they can be found at the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and inside Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction.

Many will also associate the animatronic with the video game Five Nights At Freddy’swhere the characters take center stage in a horror game first released in 2014.

A survival horror video game, it takes place in locations connected to a fictional family restaurant with an animatronic mascot who also happens to have a series of hostile friends.

Inspired by this, VT is creating his own set of Five Nights At Freddy’s characters but wasn’t ready for quite how realistic his Circus Baby might be during testing.

“I was using a servo controller which has buttons to preset a servo angle, but mostly it has a knob to precisely adjust the angle,” explained VT. “Sadly if it loses power it resets the button I used to keep it in a position where I could put some screws in. When the power cables jiggled lost the servo controller reset and the knob was set to put the servo in a position where it would crush my thumb.”

Commenters rushed to share their reactions on Reddit after the creator shared what had happened.

“Living up to the FNAF [Five Nights At Freddy’s] potential lol,” joked one commenter, while another said: “Oh great. Now it knows what blood tastes like.”

“Oh just wait ’til you wake up at 3 am with it sitting on your chest holding a kitchen knife,” joked another commenter.

Luckily for VT, the damage wasn’t too bad in the end. “The metal frame was thing, so it dug into my skin,” he explained. “It just took a couple of days to heal up with a couple of bandages. I’ve almost fully recovered in terms of movement.”

“It’s not ready for mass production just yet,” joked another Redditor in the comments, while one reply said: “I feel like this is the beginning of a horror movie.”

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