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LinuxNews.com: The Great Linux Caper: Operating System Invades Jim Henson's Creature Shop

Oct 10, 2000, 21:45 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michelle Head)

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"Someday, we'll find it; the Rainbow Connection, the Linux, the creatures, and me... While the original Muppets will remain unchanged, old favorites as well as new characters are performing in online and real-time computer graphics venues, as well as preparing for new adventures on the silver screen, through a new Linux-based control system."

"Steve Rosenbluth, the Jim Henson Creature Shop's Control Systems Designer, is one of the developers behind the new Linux-based Henson Performance Control System (HPCS). "A control system is basically a bunch of electronics and computers which control robotic puppets--this is called animatronics," he explained. Rosenbluth designed the new Linux-based HPCS to replace the nine-year-old control system that won an Academy Award for technical achievement for the movie Babe."

"The team chose Linux, Rosenbluth said, partly because of its stability. "I had been doing other control systems around Hollywood, and ultimately, we focused on using real-time Linux, because this is a hard real-time application, since it involves robotics," he said. "We also do large-scale animatronics, which is hydraulic and actually can be dangerous if not done correctly, so we needed a control system based on a very safe and stable operating system. Robbie, the Lost in Space robot, is an example of the kind of dangerous work that made the department start thinking about using Linux, Rosenbluth said. Work started on the Linux control system in 1998, and it is now up and running, he added."

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