SEDALIA, Colo. -- Fourteen-year-old Belle is battling bone cancer. So when it came time for her Make-A-Wish, she had to make it count.
“She wanted almost the impossible but not quite the impossible,” Victoria Pea said. “She wanted a robotic dragon.”
Not a toy, but a pet. Because of her cancer, Belle can’t have a regular pet like a dog or a cat. So Arrow Electronics and project manager Victoria Pea went to work to make it a reality.
“We pulled in maybe three or four companies to work together to provide electronics, expertise we needed to build software, pulling boards together, building the mechanical and putting the skin together,” Pea explained.
They tapped electrical engineers, brought in mechanical engineers, called on sculptors and artists to do something new and unique.
“It took a good year-and-a-half to make that dragon come in to being,” she said.
And create a wireless, move-on-it’s own, one-of-a-kind robotic dragon they did.
“Hi!” Pea said as the dragon sat up on its own. It mechanically purred as the petted the purple and pink robot on its nose.
The dragon stands about two feet tall, it’s about three feet long, is covered with scales and is complete with horns and bright purple eyes.
“It does wag its tail, it moves its head, gives you a wing display, it does sit and lay down," Pea listed.
It also interacts with its owner.
“We designed the animations and pre-programmed it to react accordingly,” she said. “It’s very much alive in its own way.”
Every part of the dragon is brand new and made especially for the dragon, from the 3D printed scales, to the one-of-a-kind head filled with teeth. The finished product was even impressive to the project manager.
“Oh my gosh! I did not expect to look this way, this good” Pea said.
But there would only be one opinion that truly mattered. One a recent snowy day in Sedalia, Belle met her dragon for the first time as part of her "wish reveal.”
“It’s as close to a dragon as can be, as a robot” Belle said with a smile.
When asked how she felt about getting her new pet, she replied “all the happys.”
Her smile, making all of the time and effort put into making the dragon well worth it.
“I love it,” Belle said.