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Pixar's lamp re-created as adorable robot

It looks like a normal lamp ... but when you switch Pinokio on, it comes alive.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

It looks like a normal lamp ... but when you switch Pinokio on, it comes alive.

This little lamp doesn't give you any light, but what it does instead is magnificent. Created by three students at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand — Adam Ben-Dror, Shanshan Zhou and Joss Doggett — the Pinokio Lamp was made using six servos, a webcam and an Arduino processor to interact with its users.

Modelled after Pixar's Luxo Jr, the aim was to create a will for life where previously there was none.

We are here to raise the questions: "What if an industrial object is created not as an obedient tool, but to live? What if an algorithm utilises user input to gain awareness of a situation, rather than being controlled?" We therefore created this robotic computing project to explore the potential of a "living algorithm".

Pinokio is by no means the most intelligent and self-sustaining entity. Nevertheless, we believe it is the expressive and behavioural qualities that makes Pinokio come alive. Just like Pinocchio the puppet who comes to life and confidently proclaims "I'm a real boy" — it is the irrepressible and seemingly instinctive impulse of living for its own sake in Pinokio that shines forth in poetry and magic.

The result is strangely poignant and beautiful.

You can find more information on how Pinokio was put together on its website.