Title of Invention


Abstract The present invention relates to a programmable assembly for puppet manipulation comprising one or more movable object, suspending means for suspending the movable object by attaching different parts of the object to means for moving the parts, at least one actuator for controlling the moving means, a modular housing including a framework for mounting the actuator and the moving means, a programmable controller for controlling the actuator, and means for powering the actuators and the programmable controller.
Field of the Invention:
The present invention relates to the field of puppetry. More particularly the invention relates to a framework that makes it possible to program and automate the puppets.
Background of the Invention:
The concept of storytelling and learning while_ playing, have a very important roles in implementing constructivist approach to child pedagogy. It has been established that learning in the form of stories and practically applying the concepts learned reinforce the knowledge.
The concept of story telling through puppets is a well-known concept. But with boom in the_^nterj;ainmen± sector, the skill sets required for educative story telling is getting extinct.
Puppetry in its various forms has been known throughout the world as a means for entertainment. In India a puppet show has a theme/story which is usually mythological. Puppets made of wood and cloth are manipulated by expert puppeteers through string/s to enact the story. Various people and organisations have tried using puppet show as a medium for educating people and creating general awareness. But the underlying problem here is the scarcity of the people who know the art of puppet manipulation.

The existing concept of digital puppetry deals with three-dimensional computer graphics animation. The sense of tangibility and learning while doing is not present in those. Moreover for the rural and low-educated masses in the Indian context, the above won't have much impact on their learning, there is a general apprehension about computers among these masses.
No known tool exists through which people not from the field of puppetry and from the rural areas, can readily program/manipulate the puppets so as to bring life to a story. This lack of user friendliness makes it difficult for people specially children to play and learn using puppets as a medium.
Objectives and summary of the Invention:
It is an objective of the present invention to overcome the drawbacks in the existing puppetry tools.
Another objective of the invention is to provide for easily programmable puppets.
Yet another objective of the invention is to provide enhanced and easily programmable puppets.
To overcome the drawbacks of the prior art and to achieve the aforementioned objectives, the invention provides for a programmable assembly for puppet manipulation. This programmable assembly has a framework from which one or more puppets are suspended and controlled through digital controllers. The digital controllers can be readily
programmed through the use of a computing device using easy to operate environment such as a Graphic User Interface.
The users can make puppets move in a predetermined way through programming, and store their own play, story, dance sequence or in broader sense their creation. This is achieved by controlling the puppets through motors, which in turn are controlled using a programmable controller. The motors have strings attached to the limbs of the puppets along with some mechanisms. The set up can be transported to remote places if required.
A user friendly Graphics User Interface, through which the user can download already made programs or can create new ones for their purpose. This programmability makes the tool modular and the user can create anything from an "Arabian Night's " story to a play to make people aware of the need to "Conserve Water". Thus it finds its applicability for a wide variety of users as well as audiences.
This unique kind of setup would give the users, mostly children, not only a means to enrich themselves with tangible programming, vent out their creativity but enhancing their all-round societal development. Brief Description of the Drawings:
Figure 1 is a schematic diagram showing the arrangement of the puppet with the framework in accordance with the preferred embodiment.
Figure 2 is a diagram showing the use of motor and pulley to control the body part of the puppet.
Figure 3 is a diagram illustrating the use of gears to control the puppets. Figure 4 illustrates how the puppets are mounted on the framework. Figure 5 is a block diagram of the system.
Figure 6 is a flowchart for the method of programming puppets using the invention.
Detailed Description of the Figures:
The invention combines some traditional puppetry and sophisticated yet easy to use electronics. The system will have six basic components. They are briefly described as follows.
• The puppets are the main attraction for the kids or the audiences,
who are quite fond of the concept of story telling though puppetry.
These can be made as modular as possible to fit the in all possible
situations. The puppets can also be substituted by other similar
objects like dolls.
• A modular housing so that the situation and scenes can be changed
as per requirements of the create play or story. Again the housing is
essentially a framework on which the puppets along with the motors,
sensors and other mechanisms will be mounted.
A music and speech generation system is required to generate midi files through the computer. It will be a powerful tool, as not only the kids can use some preloaded music, but also create their own. A simple graphical interface is to be included to facilitate the creation.
Motors and some mechanisms are used for controlling the puppets. A sophisticated yet simple-to-use motor control system is developed. The control system is programmable in nature, so that the motors can be controlled in a large number of ways. Different ways of controlling the motor will give rise to different motions in the puppets. These motions are to be synchronized with the music or the context of the story. A programmable microprocessor is used where programs can be downloaded through a computer. The motor could be of any type depending upon the functionality required, portability requirement and the amount of investment possible. Also in combination or in isolation with motors, one can use hydraulics, pneumatics etc to achieve the desired motion.
A programmable controller and sensors are required to control the motors. The programmable controller will have the capability to store different programs, which in turn control the motors. The sensors are used to make the tool more sophisticated. The sensors used may be touch, light or proximity sensor, which aids the controller to make the motor move in some specific manner according to the sensor signal.
• A programming interface is required to interface the front end - the puppets and the back end - the speech or the music. This consists of a simple GUI. This will be the most powerful tool as the kids will have a lot of things to learn and think about, the way of programming to synchronize and try out new things, thus venting out their creations.
Traditional puppetry imbibes the attraction of learning through storytelling and three-dimensional graphical puppetry imbibes the creativity. But this particular invention incorporates the positive points of the above two, the creativity and tangibility. The motorized control of the puppets through a GUI is a different tool altogether. A skillful storyteller or an experienced computer graphics programmer is not the requirement to operate the above tool. It's so simple that anybody, even a child can operate it.
The invention is a set-top box, which is portable and can run without external power source after it has been programmed. Hence it is feasible to take the plays created beforehand, to be taken to remote places where the latest technologies have not reached and also to the places where too much of advancement has taken a toll on the availability of the skills of the puppet-dancers.
The invention also plays a very important role in making the targeted users (mainly children), to understand the concept of programming, synchronization, mechanisms and also creating their own stories. This will not only make them learn while playing but also develop their own resources like sociability, behavioral aspects etc. It has been observed that the
ubconscious mind plays an important role in learning process of a person, which is triggered easily if he gets to the things, i.e. learning while doing it.
Figure 1 shows the preferred arrangement of the motorized puppets with the framework. The puppet (1.1) is suspended with the help of the strings (1.2). One end of the string is attached to the puppet and the other end is attached to a mechanical system (1.3, 1.4) that gives the motion to the particular limb or the whole puppet depending upon the way in which it has been attached. The mechanical system is clamped on a framework using clamping wheels (1.5). The whole mechanical system is movable on the rails (1.6) of the framework.
A simple arrangement for moving a puppet body part could be through a pulley and a motor as shown in figure 2. The mechanism of swiveling of an arm (2.3) for example can be brought about by simply winding and unwinding of the string (2.4) over the pulley (2.2). As the string wound on the pulley gets unwound with the help of the motor (2.1), it releases the extra string (2.4), which makes the arm of the puppet (2.3) to come down and vice versa.
For more complex arrangements, two strings can be mounted on the same pulley but in opposite sense. A gear or even an offset crank mechanism can be used as shown in figure 3. Here also the length of the strings (3.5) causes the motion in the limbs of the puppets. The arrangement shown using a motor (3.1) and three gears (3.2, 3.3, 3.4) can be used to control four limbs at a time, but the two sets of limbs will have similar movements but in opposite direction. In this way the various numbers of motion can be
generated depending on the type and the way of using the mechanical elements.
Once the mechanism is connected with the motor, the whole mounting should be moved, as the puppets might be needed to be moved. Figure 4 shows how the puppets are mounted on the framework. For this purpose the motor along with the mechanism and also the puppet attached to it, are mounted on clamping wheels (4.2, 4.4). These clamping wheels not only allow the mounting to be moved over some rail (4.1), but also hold the puppet in one place. Thus a separate dedicated motor is required for this arrangement. The rails can be simply considered as circular hollow rods on which the wheels are clamped. The whole mounting is further supported using additional rods (4.5).
The mechanical attachments are very important to make the whole setup as modular as possible. For this reason the components are very basic in nature. The user can use them as they want, to achieve their goal(s). The basic components may include:
1. Gears
2. Pulleys
3. Shafts
4. Connecting frames
5. Wheels
6. Stoppers and connectors
The stoppers and connectors are very useful for making a rigid mechanism. For this reason they have been thought of having a press fit with all the other components, as it is the most suited for joining two plastic parts. They are to be made of plastic and any other suitable material and the cross sections may be of various types. Their functionality is to hold the moving or rotating parts firmly. The press fit will give a plug and play feel to the whole thing thus enhancing its modularity.
The process control of the puppets is achieved as shown in figure 5. The programmable controller (5.2) is the heart of the control system. With the help of a GUI existing on any computing system (5.1), the user can program the controller quite easily. The programmable controller stores a particular program and runs the commands according to it. The users may like to use sensors (5.3) to make the puppets conscious about its ambience and vicinity and act according to them. For example a puppet needs to change its motion when another one comes near it. In that case proximity or a light sensor is to be attached in a suitable position of the puppet. The sensor gives signal to the programmable controller that there has been some change in its state. The controller then takes action accordingly as per the programming through the actuator, changing the time it is kept on or direction of motion etc. the movement as already explained can be achiebved using a motor (5.4) and a pulley (5.5) etc.
The program is made through a GUI in any computing device and then downloaded in the controller's memory, which is generally of the capacity of 30 KB and can store three programs easily. The programming will incorporate the idea of stack programming. So the commands are followed
step by step from the top to the bottom. To make things simple graphical icons are used so that the stacking becomes easy. There are operations like loops, motor control statements like put motor on, off, change direction of motor etc and also sensor control commands for e.g. the level of signal to be considered, the action to be done by the controller upon certain state of the sensor etc.
The whole process of running a puppet show using the invention is explained in figure 6. After starting (6.1), the first thing the user has to decide is to whether a new play has to be programmed (6.2). In case the user decides against it (6.4) then all that he has to do is to set the puppets in the framework (6.5), load the play (6.6) and run the puppet show (6.7). In case the user decides to program a new play (6.3), then first the user has to make/decide upon a story and a song (6.8). Next the user has to synchronise the movement of the puppet in accordance with the story or song (6.9). After this the user has to program the controller (6.10). Thereafter the user has to set the puppets in the framework (6.11) and load the program (6.12) before finally running the show (6.7).
The major applications of the invention could be listed as:
a) Children (+6 vrsV
• Learning through puppet shows
• Learning through creating their own plays and stories
b) Social Workers or NGOs:
Creating plays to convey message to masses who are not aware of them
c) Others:
Aid to teaching

We Claim:
1. A programmable assembly for puppet manipulation comprising:
- one or more movable object,
- suspending means (1.2) for suspending the movable object
by attaching different parts of the object to means for
moving the parts,
- at least one actuator (1.3, 1.4) for controlling the moving
- a modular housing including a framework for mounting
the actuator and the moving means,
- a programmable controller (5.2) for controlling the actuator,
- means for powering the actuators and the programmable

2. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
movable objects comprise puppets and dolls.
3. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 2 wherein the
puppets are modular.
4. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein
suspending means comprise string, rope and wires.

5. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
moving means comprise gears, levers, hydraulics, pneumatics,
wires and pulleys.
6. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
actuator comprises motors, pneumatic cylinders, hydraulic
means and sensors.
7. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 4 wherein said
sensors comprise touch, light and proximity sensors.
8. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
programmable controller comprises motor controller,
electromagnet and servo controller.
9. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
programmable controller is programmed through a
programming interface.

10. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 9 wherein the
programming interface may be self contained or may reside on
an external computing device.
11. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 9 wherein the
programming interface is a Graphic User Interface.

12. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 9 wherein the
programming interface comprises sound, music and speech
generation means.
13. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 9 wherein the
programmable controller is programmed through pre-loaded
programs for synchronising the sound, music and light with the
puppet manipulation.
14. A programmable assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the
means for powering comprise batteries and direct power supply
15. A programmable assembly as and herein described with
reference to the accompanying figures.
16. A programmable assembly for puppet manipulation
substantially as herein described with reference to the
accompanying drawings.




445-del-2003-complete specification (granted).pdf



445-del-2003-description (complete).pdf









Patent Number 244710
Indian Patent Application Number 445/DEL/2003
PG Journal Number 52/2010
Publication Date 24-Dec-2010
Grant Date 16-Dec-2010
Date of Filing 26-Mar-2003
Name of Patentee MEDIA LAB ASIA
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
PCT International Classification Number G05B 15/00
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 NA