Our first of two field projects, Kinetic Environments required that we experiment with robotics and programming to come up with a finished idea/product/piece of art at the end of the term. This project was a good one for me I felt. Instead of representing ideas on a piece of paper or canvas (although sketching and technical drawings played a large part in the outcome), I was able to challenge myself and tackle a new field.
At first I was a little nervous to try new things like the soldering and programming, but as the project progressed I became more comfortable with the task at hand.
The original Idea, was to create a robot that was a likeness to deep sea Echinoderms. Creatures like Brittle Stars and Sea Urchins, that dwell on the very bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean floor. The marks they leave behind in the sand can tell us about their size and the way in which they move. I thought it would be interesting to try and represent this, and so I drew up some sketches after discussing this idea with the rest of my group, containing two more illustrators and a Product Designer.
The main difficulty I found was in the programming. I became very confused. I now understand that I simply takes knowing the programs and plugging into the system to achieve the desired goal. The two main things we needed to program the robot with were movement, and reacting to movement. To achieve this we used motors and a proximity sensor.
To better represent the effect that these deep sea creatures can have on the world around them, the majority of that being in the sand that they dwell upon, Pens were attached to the bottom of the legs so that when the robot moved forward over a large piece of paper, marks were left on the paper to show how it had moved.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was present and actively involved in the project from its conception until about 3/4ths the way through, and was increasingly absent towards the end of the project. Thankfully it was completed, solely due to the devotion and dedication of my other group mates. They did a brilliant job in finalizing the robot.
I feel that It was a good piece of tech, simple, but it did a job, which I feel was the most important thing. Illustrations need to work, they need to do a job. I feel that because this robot was built to represent living things, it could be used as an educational tool in a learning environment.
I would like to look into representation in this way a lot more in the future, and would want to continue recreating the natural world in a way that can educate and help us better understand the ways in which our world works