Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jacksonville - Sally Corp

We finally said good-bye to Savannah and drove down to Woodbine/St Mary's, about 7 miles north of the Florida state line, we're staying at the Walk-About RV Park. This park changed owners about a year ago and is now owned by a nice young couple from Australia and their 4 kids. They have made a lot of improvements and are a real pleasure to deal with.

Today we drove down to Jacksonville, our first stop as always when we're here was Penzey's Spice shop  to replenish our spice rack, if you've never been to a Penzeys then you don't know what you're missing.

After getting our spice fix we drove downtown to the Sally Corp.. They make animated robots and such for amusement parks, private corporations and any one else that wants one. We had called ahead and they said that they could squeeze us in with the noon tour, you must make reservations for a tour, we ended up being with a small (20 4th grade kids) school tour. At first we thought that it was going to be geared towards the kids but it was very interesting for the adults also.

This company has been here for 30 years and has their robots all around the world. Our guide explained that it got it's start when three students at Wake Forest had a project which required them to give a talk on stage in front of an auditorium full of people. They were all very shy and none of them wanted to give the talk, so they bought a mannequin, ripped the head of and put a few motors in the head that would make the mouth move when ever they pushed a button. Then they had a lady friend record their speech for them. When it was time to give their talk they placed the head on the podium, turned on the tape and started pushing the button to make the mouth move with the speech. They all passed and that was the start of Sally Corporations, why Sally well that was the name of the mannequin and she's still employed there.

This was a fun tour and lasted about an hour and we were amazed at the great questions some of the fourth graders asked.

The first stop showed some of the different characters they have made.

The tour guide putting on a mask of LBJ, if you've been to the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, this is the mold that they used to make the robot there.

Mark Twain

A sample they used to show the different movements.

They  just finished this one and it's going to a Temple in India.  It was made from the photos and measurements of the real person.

They use human hair on the robots and each one is placed in individuality, it can take this girl up to 20 hours to set all the hair  in this beard.

T-Rex breaking out of his crate.

At the end they have an animated shooting gallery for the kids to try their shooting skills at.


Carol said...

You find some fascinating places to visit. Bucket list! LOL

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Now that is really cool. I'd like to get that T-Rex head as a hood ornament on our MH. Nobody would cut in front of us! ;c)