New Electronic Opportunities at MSJC

Jonah Rauch, Writer

In September of 2021, MSJC partnered with Garner Holt Education of Imagination with the purpose of giving students the ability to construct and electrically engineer animatronics, and robotic products.

Jonah Rauch

Although the classrooms are still a work in progress, they will be located in the 100 building on the San Jacinto campus, and will be opening soon. The rooms are currently unavailable due to COVID-19 community guidelines, but when they do open, there are limitless possibilities that will open along with the doors to the new classrooms.

The GHETI AniMakerspace will give students the ability to learn and practice the skills needed to become great problem-solvers, designers, builders, and technical operators. The procedure to enroll and use the space is in process right now, but the program seems to be something huge.

The process of constructing animatronics begins in the digital design room, a room full of 3D printers, used to make models and prototypes of robots. These are important because the prototypes are used as a “rough draft” of sorts, giving the engineers ideas on how their model is going to look. From there, the prototypes are taken to the arts and automation room, where the models are fully assembled and programmed. This room contains endoskeletons that are attached to a Macbook, which are used to allow the endoskeletons to operate.

computers in the Makerspace room for creation of animatronics (Jonah Rauch)

There is even a microphone attached to it used for voice acting, considering a lot of the animatronics, particularly the ones at Disneyland, tend to speak and move their mouth. This is all done through the capability of Macbook software. This procedure has been used time and time again to make tons of the most popular animatronics today, most of which being at Disneyland, since it is a theme park based on fictional characters.

Garner Holt, the founder of Garner Holt Productions became a monumental company on a journey that was not easy. Holt began engineering from inside the garage at his parents’ house. His first creative masterpiece was Uncle Sam, which he sent to some of the workers at Disneyland, who then went to his house to see it. Holt founded Garner Holt Productions in the summer of 1977, where he created Wendell, an animatronic of a man riding a unicycle, and continued creating new animatronics like Chuck E Cheese. Eventually he became the engineer behind most of the animatronics at Disneyland, and even at California Adventure. With the Garner Holt Education Through Imagination pairing up with MSJC, students from MSJC can learn how to electrically engineer these robots as well.

GHETI AniMakerspace at MSJC (Jonah Rauch)

GHETI hopes to help students “discover careers and passion with engineering and automation, so it feels less like going to work, but to do something for fun,” said Ryan Rainbolt, President of GHETI. Rainbolt also explains that the best method to teach robotic engineering is through a 3D approach, rather than reading a 2D book and reflecting on what it is that you read, as a “hands on” approach. This is a program that has limitless potential, as the animatronics already created through this process have become some of the most notable icons in history.