Robot Chicken and Power Glove: a match made in animation heaven


Anything else is child's play. Photo: Dillon Markey
Anything else is child's play. Photo: Dillon Markey

Dillon Markey animates one of the hottest Adult Swim programs on television, Robot Chicken. Better yet, he uses an old Nintendo Power Glove to do it.

The Emmy-winning show consists of short sequences of stop-motion animation using action figures of pop culture characters, like Bill Gates or Shigeru Miyamoto, the famed Nintendo game designer. Funny enough, Markey used his modified Power Glove the first time on that specific scene in Robot Chicken.

Check it out in the video below.

Markey says he was animating a sequence with a portable bluetooth keyboard and Dragonframe (the industry-standard stop-motion software) one day when he realized how much better it would be with the keyboard strapped to his arm. A child of the ’80s, Markey immediately figured he could use the Power Glove, which debuted in teen-flick The Wizard with Fred Savage, as the perfect peripheral.

With a little help from a co-worker’s electrical engineer husband, Markey had a prototype built in just a few days, and now uses the glove exclusively to run the Dragonframe software. He’s programmed in the left and right D-pad buttons to go forward and back a frame, the green Center button as a way to play the animation sequence, and the A and B buttons to record two or one frame of video per press. All the other buttons on the glove are programmed with different macros, and Markey has even fitted a set of tweezers on a retractable cable so he can have easy access to them when he needs to tweak a facial expression.

He’s also programmed in an audio clip that says, “Fucking Awesome” when anyone fist-bumps him.

It’s a brilliant bit of hacking to use an older device like this, and a nostalgic bit of joy for anyone who grew up in the days of the Nintendo Power Glove, which never sold well but remains in the hearts of thousands of nerds from days gone past. Nerds like Markey, who also may happens to have the coolest job ever.