New to Arduino, need a good starting point for my project

This is my first post here and hopefully I can get a direction for my project. First, and obviously, I'm new to Arduino. but not new to electronics. I work in the field but exclusively in the RF communication spectrum, plus I know enough LabView to get in trouble. I also dabble in Steampunk (which is what my project is). I built a metal dog. The body and head are constructed from Aluminum food containers and the legs are gears. Currently I have a 75MHz radio controlled receiver and Futaba servo in the body. I use the servo to raise and lower the head.

So here's my question. I want a method (hopefully Arduino) to control the Futaba steering servo (head movement) and I want the dog to bark. Ideally, I would like to turn the dog on and have it bark and nod randomly, or when a person gets close to it. I want it to have the appearance that it is acting on it's own.

So, is this possible with the Arduino platform? If yes, what products would I need. Thank you in advance.

Hi,

Certainly possible; you have background in the hard stuff...

Is the servo a "standard" pulse-width controlled type?

Take a look HERE: at some of the power control / actuator info.

Google "Arduino animatronics" and you'll get THIS:

Prototype stuff, then ask questions.

THIS: How-To may be a good overall start..

There is a lot of stuff on the Useful Links Thread.

Have a look at Planning and Implementing a Program

...R