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Universidad del Valle de México Students Create an Animatronic Jaguar

The project won first place in the 2012 Expo-Chiapas Contest

01/10/2013


Universidad del Valle de México Students Create an Animatronic Jaguar

Students and teachers from the Mechatronics Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering programs from Universidad del Valle de México Campus Tuxtla developed an animatronic jaguar that can mimic certain movements of the large cat.

Animatronics are mechatronic systems, which may include systems from building automation to mechanized creatures like dinosaurs and some animals. The purpose of building the animatronic jaguar is to help support tourism in the state of Chiapas and other states where several species of animals are in danger of disappearing.

"We put it in restaurants, hotels, airports and buses, among other sights of Chiapas, to invite people to visit our state. The jaguar is the first animatronic prototype we have created, but we plan to develop other species such as lizards, monkeys, parrots, etc., endemic species, primarily which are in danger of extinction, "said Nein Farrera , Research Leader at UVM Campus Tuxtla.

The professor is working with students in the development of a second generation of animatronics, which are equipped with sensors (motion, optical, contact etc.) and will be able to react to their environment, emit sounds and make movements to attract people's attention. The system is fully autonomous and realistic, fully imitating some of the endangered species.

"The jaguar is an emblematic animal of the state of Chiapas and a tourist attraction where people can meet this species which is in danger of disappearing would be great Chiapas is recognized as a state with great biodiversity and natural wealth, but also a state in which many species are hunted by humans," said Nein Farrera.

It is estimated that the jaguar population in Mexico is between 1,000 and 2,000 cats, however, there is no concrete evidence for these figures. What is known is that the numbers of this cat have drastically fallen to the point where it is at risk of extinction. For this reason, it is forbidden to hunt, capture, transport, possession or trade jaguar or products or by-products of this species throughout the country.

The desire to create an animatronic jaguar is to promote awareness among the population of the endangered animals, because if we’re not careful, in the not too distant future, they only remaining animas will be animatronic.

The project was conducted in six stages: research of concepts and initial definition of animatronic; modeling CAD software (SolidWorks), deployment and control systems, integration, testing and commissioning. The exoskeleton was created with aluminum plates to provide greater durability and ensure good support for the components and external artistic design. For their work on the animatronic jaguar, Campus Tuxtla won first place in the Chiapas Expo - 2012 competition in the Mechatronics category and second in the UVM Minirobótica 2012 competition in the category of exhibition.

The students who participated in the development of the animatronic jaguar are: Hugo Humberto López, Miguel Angel Escobar, Carlos Enrique Mejia (Mechatronics Engineering) and Bonifaz Pedro Villafuerte (Industrial and Systems Engineering) , all directed by Professor nein Farrera as well as Osvaldo Garcia Ramos and Manuel Nangō Mendez.

This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.