Through working on the Adventure Time
video game, I've become a big fan of the show itself. In
character BMO - the adorable, sentient game console - is really hard
not to love. The series's creator has even gone on record stating that
she is his favorite character. If you need convincing that BMO is
awesome, check out this
I had been wanting to get back into some
hobby electronics and robotics work, so I thought it would be really
fun to try and make a real life BMO that can talk, play games, and look
super cute sitting on my desk at work.
I may look into setting up a blog or something specifically for the BMO
Buddy project, but for now I'll begin retro-actively documenting the
here on my website.
7th, 2013 - "I am a little living boy!"
The BMO project is now officially live! I wanted
back from talking about it until after it was further along than just
and breadboards full of wires. While the project is far from finished,
it is starting to come together very well and I feel comfortable
talking about the rest of the work to be done.
The project consists of several parts:
Custom circuit to control and power various
components like screens, speech modules, and motors.
Custom case and game controllers.
Interchangeable software so BMO can have actual
The circuitry involved seemed more than applicable to a decently
powerful microcontroller and nothing on the concept side initially
seemed to tricky of a technical problem to design around. Even game
carts seemed like a possibility using SD cards. I've written software
interpreters and simple computer languages in the past, so being able
to load and run custom games also seemed like a possibility. And, while
I'm a pretty lousy artist, BMO is essentially a box with some holes in
it so I thought I might be able to pull off making something
recognizably close to her visual appearance as well.
At present, BMO's brain is an Arduino Mega
microcontroller. With it, she can talk through an Emic2 speech
chip, animate her eyes and mouth on a 2.8-inch touchscreen, and
register touch input on her
screen/face (Currently used to tell BMO to speak). Her case was
designed in a 3D modeling program and printed out on my desktop 3D
printer in ABS plastic. She can read input from custom joysticks, but
there are currently no games to play on her yet so they havn't been
built any further than the circuit prototype stage just yet. She can,
however, run off of battery power now, so I can take her places...
...For example, If you were at Anime
Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center today, you might have seen
BMO making the rounds through the convention halls, screen lit with a
smile for every picture taken. I will add a new entry soon with some
picks of BMO from the show floor, as well as more info on the circuits
and other components.
2013 - "BMO get camera? BMO IS camera!"
I took BMO
with me to Anime Expo at the Los Angeles
Convention Center today. My original plan was to make some sort of
shoulder harness so that BMO could sit on my shoulder like a pirate's
parrot, but I didn't have enough time to figure out how to make one
sturdy eoungh, so I just carried her around instead.
The most common reactions I got from the show floor were people asking
where they could buy one for themselves, how much I wanted to sell mine
for, when I would be making more to sell, and
"OHMIGAWDBEEMO!!", all of which I regard as being pretty
positive. Sorry, he's not for sale!
Lots of people also asked to take pictures or inquired as to
how I made her, and everyone was excited
to hear her talk even though it was really loud in the convention hall.
Even with just the limited functionality of being a homemade electronic
thing that looks cute and speaks, she managed to turn lots of heads and
generate a lot of attention.
In order to make BMO presentable away from my workbench, I had to
really put in an effort to finish the
first version of the case. There were some issues - most of
them stemming from working
in a 3D modeling program designed to be used for loose sculpting rather
high-precision CAD work - but I've made a version that I could print
out on my desktop 3D printer and is capable of holding most of
currently working elements. I wound up doing several revisions,
settling on a three-piece shell that snaps together.
refining a lot of things, and there still many more features yet to
add. However, I did manage to make enough room for batteries and an
on/off switch so I could take BMO around with
me to Anime Expo today. I've added a few pics below of BMO seeing the
sites, although it seems like her favorite section was the arcade area
(Of course!). I'll try and write another update soon with more detailed
information on the components.