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Department Of Theatre And Media Arts

BYU Engineering, Theatre Arts Students Team Up to Create Animatronic Cougar

Rise and shout! BYU fans will soon have a new cougar to cheer for. Thanks to the combined efforts of two BYU engineering capstone teams and a group of theatre and media arts (TMA) students, Cosmo is getting an animatronic counterpart in the theatre department. Designed to introduce plays and similar events, “Cosmotron,” as he is fondly known, will bring added school spirit to BYU performances. While engineering capstone projects typically develop products for clients outside the university, the theatre department’s desire to have an animatronic cougar provided an excellent learning opportunity for students from both ends of campus during the 2020–21 academic year. Animatronics are commonly built for amusement parks and films (think Disneyland and Jurassic Park), and their creation requires a wide range of engineering and artistic skills. “We will fight, day or night, rain or snow”: Creating Cosmotron When they first brainstormed Cosmotron’s design, the students were unsure they’d be able to pull off the complex task. Somehow, they needed to fit all of the necessary parts inside the cougar’s small head and make sure that each team’s work — mechanical engineering components, electrical and computer engineering components, and software controls — could come together to make a working puppet. Read the full article by Christie Allen at