Halloween candy hasn't even been put in the discount bins, and yet one man is already planning for the Christmas season -- by building a robotic Santa Claus.
Last December, Brooklyn resident Nick Brewer built a 7-foot-tall cyborg St. Nick (left) for SantaCon
, the annual flash mob–cum–bar crawl in New York where attendees dress as Santa and other holiday-themed characters
Many participants wear whatever cheapo red suit or slutty elf
ensemble they can scrounge up at Ricky's
. Others, like Brewer, take their costumes a little more seriously, spending time, money and brainpower to create FrankenSantas you won't find on any store shelves.
"From my original plans through the end of construction, the robot
took about a month," Brewer tells Asylum. "I would come home from work, turn on the television and sit down in the living room, cutting cardboard or soldering it together. In the end, between the circuitry and parts, I probably spent around $250."
Inspired by the Robot Santa from "Futurama
," Brewer's model was complete with a voice changer, rocket pack and lights all wired to a central box with switches mounted on the chest. A candy dish extended from the belly, and the head tilted back, so that he could eat and drink.
Despite all the drunk, grabby reindeer at SantaCon, the jolly ol' android held up surprisingly well. Yet Brewer wants to upgrade to a bigger and better model for this year's event. Now he's constructing Robot Santa 2.0.
"I learned a lot of things with last year's model," says Brewer. "The switches I had were a little difficult to activate, so this year I'm going with a much larger control panel and arcade push buttons for durability. I'm also going to use a more modular design for mobility and to make it look different."
The largest change, he says, will be the addition of a brain
to the robot (blueprint, left). The 25-year-old journalist (and amateur engineer) is learning how to program, so that buttons will control sounds and LED lights, which will display text or images on the chest.
Brewer has over two months left to finish the project -- and he's filming the entire process for a short documentary on SantaCon called "Santas on the Move
" (a nod to the phrase that's chanted during the pub crawl when it's time to switch bars).
With help from his girlfriend Shayna Hawkins and friends Jess Alford and Lance McGraw, the film will tell the story of SantaCon, its history, and the lengths people will go to in creating the perfect costume.
"I've always had a blast at SantaCon, and I wanted to share it with others," he explains. "But I've been left with plenty of questions about the event: How did it start? Why do people actually attend? Is it for the sole purpose of being part of a drunken mob, or is it more than that?"
Brewer grew up in the city of North Pole, Alaska (yes, really
), so it's only natural he has enough Christmas spirit to launch both a Kris Kringle droid and a movie about it. But spirit ain't gonna help front the bills, so he's currently seeking donations
to help fund both projects.
If you'd like to donate, you can do so here
. If you don't, just remember, Robot Santa is watching you ...