Cheeky Monkey is far and away the most popular of a series of shoulder-sitting animatronic robots I have built. Cheeky is an animatronic pet monkey who sits on my shoulder. He runs off an OOPic microcontroller, the same PIC that Ziggy uses, and is controlled with an RF remote control.

He is based on the Beanie Baby "Mooch", which I bought on Ebay. I opened it up and pulled all the stuffing out, cut and reattached his head and both arms, then inserted a steel armature supporting three micro servos into the body cavity, actuating each arm and the head nod. The fourth servo is contained within the head and actuates the head turn. These four degrees of freedom allow Cheeky to look around and wave at people, shake his head, scratch behind his ear, hide when he is shy and perform a number of unique behaviours, 17 in total. The black and white four motor version of Cheeky supercedes the original version which had only two motors with limited behaviours and was based on the brown Beanie "Bongo". You can see a picture and video of the original below.

Unlike Willy, Cheeky is semi-autonomous, reverting to random behaviours if no command is sent to him after a short period. This means that I don't have to keep pushing buttons to keep him interesting; he will look around and wave at people all by himself. I find this makes him much more lifelike as he is always moving, and I can still override him to send him commands if I want him to wave, high-five or perform another action.

I got such a reaction from people whenever I wore Cheeky out in public I knew I had to design a toy shoulder sitting monkey for the world to enjoy. I designed two small cam mechanisms which replicate all four motions to run the arms with one small toy grade motor and the head with a second to reduce the cost. After seven years of development, I am finally bringing the toy to market in partnership with Kablamm and Wow Stuff as "Dave the Funky Monkey". You should be able to buy Dave in a store near you (if he's not sold out!). Video of the two-motor prototype and the final toy can be seen below.

More info on Dave can be found here.

Click on the thumbnails below for video:

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Original Version

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Promotional Video

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Two Motor Prototype

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NYC Toy Fair 2010

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Official Toy Promo