Olsztyn’s Department of Mechatronics takes the podium

Students of the Department of Mechatronics of the University of Warmia and Mazury finished 3rd in the XPLORE New Automation Award 2015, with a marionette operated by controllers instead of a live puppeteer.

Adam Masyk, Jakub Krajewski, Szymon Dunajski and Wojciech Dubis - 4th year students of mechatronics, and their 3rd year colleague Bartosz Pszczółkowski, finished 3rd in the international automation projects contest in Bad Pyrmont, Germany. The students, working under the supervision of Michał Śmieja, PhD, Eng, designed an automatically controlled puppet and presented it at the final exhibition in Germany, going up against 33 other projects from around the world.

The idea of the marionette was planted in their minds following a visit to the marionette theatre in Olsztyn. The marionette was built by Michał Śmieja, PhD, Eng, the supervisor. Traditional marionettes have strings connected to a control bar held by the puppeteer. In their idea, the marionette's strings are attached to a controller, designed and constructed by the students. The marionette is able to perform several actions, including not only moving its arms and legs, but also moving forward and backward.

The project already gained a lot of interest during the contest. A number of people stopped by the Olsztyn students’ stand to watch the marionette. Questions were asked, photos were taken, and even short films were shot of the project. Even though the contest is over, the students are still working to improve their prototype. They want to teach their marionette to walk and expand the range of its movements. They are even thinking of putting it on stage.

The students have long-term plans for their design: “Our marionette could entertain children in kindergartens or hospitals. Plus, it could help actors who need to control two puppets at once.”

Adrianna Warsiewicz, student


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