The Robotic Chair (1984 – 2006) is a generic-looking wooden chair with the capacity to fall apart and put itself back together. With shuddering force the chair collapses to the floor then with persistence and determination proceeds to seek out its parts and upright itself. The Robotic Chair is distinguished in the world of objects for its capacity to elicit empathy, compassion and hope.
Viktor is the younger brother of Hektor, a spraycan robot. Viktor on the other hand uses chalk and likes blackboards. Viktor has 4 motors instead of 2, but otherwise they are quite similar. You can send almost any vector image to these devices and they will draw/spray them on a wall. If you’re in London, you can go see Viktor in action at the exhibition ‘A Recent History of Writing and Drawing’ at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Both were developed by Jürg Lehni.
Here are 4 projects that I found interesting from the ITP Spring Show 2008. ITP, the Interactive Telecommunications Program, is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts in New York.
1. BrushBots by Christian Cerrito, small robots are moving over a canvas and paint with their brushes … just watch the video.
Speaker Synth is a five-speaker array with no external audio input, created by Lesley Flanigan. The only components in the system are the instrument’s speakers, piezoelectric microphones, amplifying circuits, and the hands of the performer. Speaker Synth is played by positioning individual piezo microphones with their corresponding speakers and manipulating their associated on/off and volume controls to induce a variation of feedback effects. During the performance, samples from both Speaker Synth and a vocalist are captured and sequenced to build a dense sonic pallet of rhythms and melodies. The performance explores music making through structuring noise, highlighting relationships between analog and digital sound synthesis and between human voice and the voice of an instrument.
Here is a video of a performance with the instrument. (Part 2)
The Naked Pixel challenges our notion of decency in public arenas by using an LED tile to represent individual pixels of a nude photograph of Marilyn Monroe sequentially over time. By viewing the piece, the audience is not only unaware of what they are viewing, but their primary visual cortex can not mentally construct the sequence of colors into a coherent image.
Using a light sensor, the piece detects nightfall and further “undresses” each pixel’s color into its binary value by displaying a sequence of ones and zeroes. This further obfuscates the representation of the potentially “obscene” image.
The Pasta Cycle gets its name from an early prototype in which magnets rotating on its surface pushed elbow maccaroni around to form concentric circle patterns. The Pasta Cycle’s 2 x 2 foot box contains a rotating wheel covered in rare Earth magnets. As the wheel is spun around by a motor, it creates varying magnetic fields on the surface of the box, allowing the user to place magnets on it which get dragged along by the magnets on the wheel. The user can then place various materials on the surface of the box that get interfered with by the sliding magnets. Marbles and elbow maccaroni are the two materials of choice at this time.
‘Absolut Machines‘ is quite an amazing project by Absolut Vodka. Basically, Absolut commissioned 2 interactive sound sculptures, which you can control through the website, you’ll have to wait in line though.
‘Absolut Quartet’ is a robotic mechanical orchestra, by playing the piano you can inspire the 3 robotic ‘musicians’. You can find some making of pictures in this Flickr set. The other one, ‘Absolut Choir’ is a machine consisting of 22 choir members, by typing in words and sentences you inspire them to sing. Both are just amazing!
On the website you can choose from different camera angles, see some documentation, download your composition as a video etc. It’s just a pain to use it. I think it’s a shame that the website doesn’t match the quality of the installations.
Here is a tip, just go to the press website if you want to get straight to the info.
‘You Don’t Matter’ converted a plotting machine into an output device, that can draw, scratch or cut with almost any traditional drawing technique, in order to achieve aesthetics looking neither drawn by hand nor produced with only a computer. Most interesting and inspiring are all the little mistakes this machine produces, because of too much data, too much water, color, pressure etc. There are always gradients because the color gets less and less as the machine draws on. This expansion space describes the machine’s actual identity. No Image looks like the other.
And if you put a camera infront of the machine and take a time exposure it draws with light in the air like Picasso did with his hand.
This system provides light and food in the form of hydroponic solution for the plant. The plant reacts to the device by growing. The device in-turn reacts to the plant by producing a rasterized inkjet drawing of the plant every twenty-four hours. After a new drawing is produced the system scrolls the roll of paper approximately four inches so a new drawing can be produced during the next cycle. This system is allowed two run indefinitely and the final outcome is not predetermined.
Microsoft released some tools to program robots … Microsoft Robotics Studio.
Do we have to be scared now? Some robots who get out of control?
And then they use graphics like this one on their website … o boy.