Cameron Coward

It doesn’t matter what age you are, dinosaurs are always going to be fascinating. Even just seeing a single dinosaur fossil is an incredible experience, and full skeletons at museums are truly something to behold. But it gets even more interesting if you can see how they move. That’s what a team of three students achieved when they brought a laser-cut tyrannosaurus rex model to life with an Arduino.

This project took William Robbes, Ulrich Réale and Quentin Hoarau, students at Cégep de Chicoutimi, a month of full-time work to complete. The model is now being displayed at exhibit in Quebec’s Musée du Fjord. The tyrannosaurus rex model is made up of dozens of unique parts, all of which were designed in Autodesk Fusion 360 and then fabricated out of wood with a laser cutter. For a little bit of extra style, the dinosaur is even wearing a little 3D-printed top hat.

What makes this project especially cool is that it is fully animated. By using a clever series of linkages and cables, the tyrannosaurus rex can walk in a realistic manner — and even swings its tail and opens its mouth as it does. The motors to actuate the linkages are controlled by an Arduino development board. That also controls a sound board, so the dinosaur can roar when it opens its mouth. It might not be completely realistic, but this model is definitely fun to watch as it moves.

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