Study for Fifteen Points. Motors, custom driver electronics, custom software, aluminium, LEDs, computer. 712 x 552 x 606 mm.
With spindly legs that look like an upturned spider, this experimental kinetic artwork by Random International relies on the viewer to watch from just the right perspective to reveal a hidden secret. Each of the 15 ‘arms’ is tipped with white LEDs that collectively move to mimic the motions of a walking human figure. Titled Study for Fifteen Points, the piece was created to examine the “minimal amount of information that is actually necessary for the animated form to be recognised as human.”
Random International are an artist collective known for their ambitious interactive installations and sculptures that incorporate robotics and data, most notably the wildly popular Rain Room. Study for Fifteen Points is the first foray into a new body of work by the group and we’re excited to see what follows. (via The Creator’s Project)
Scientists at MIT have pulled up a very tiny curtain on their newest invention: a 1.7cm square robot capable of assembling itself like a piece of origami. The Untethered Miniature Origami Robot is powered by a small neodymium magnet and four electromagnetic coils underneath the robot’s surface that create magnet fields necessary for it to operate. The small robot can walk on different surfaces, climb, carry objects twice its own weight, swim in shallow water, burrow, and it even completely dissolves in an acetone solution leaving behind just the magnet.
So what can we do with super tiny self-folding robots? Researchers hope to develop even smaller autonomous robots with additional sensors that can dissolve in water. Such tiny devices could have a variety of medical uses when introduced inside of a human body, maybe zapping cancer cells or cleaning clogged arteries. You can read more about it over at IEEE and in this research paper. (via Laughing Squid)
Designed by a team at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, the Cubeli is a small cube capable of balancing, walking, and jumping on its own. The device contains a trio of reaction wheels that rotate extremely fast and can be controlled in speed and combination to create gravity-defying tricks shown here. The video above suggests potential uses such as planetary exploration or self-assembling robots (perhaps similar to MIT’s self-assembling M-Blocks), but I suggest we could use these for the purpose of being under my Christmas tree.
A few months ago we saw the invention of the world’s first 3D printing pen, the 3Doodler, that allows people to draw small objects seemingly out of thin air. Now, a large team of researchers including Petr Novikov, Saša Jokić from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Joris Laarman Studio, have decided to up the ante. The result of the team’s research is Mataerial, a large robotic tool that can draw three dimensional objects that sprout vertically from the ground or horizontally from a wall, seemingly without regard to the effects of gravity. Where traditional 3D printers print layer after layer of 2D material to build more complex shapes, Mataerial relies on a chemical reaction between two components of a thermosetting polymer to solidify almost instantly as it extrudes from a nozzle. Perhaps the Mataerial team says it better:
One of the key innovations of anti-gravity object modelling is the use of thermosetting polymers instead of thermoplastics that are used in existing 3D printers. The material is cured because of a chemical reaction between two source components with such proportion of extrusion and movement speeds that it comes solid out of the nozzle; this feature makes it possible to print hanging curves without support material.
The device can even alter the color of the material being used to create gradients or other shifts in hue in real time. The team also proposed the creation of much larger structures such as a pavillion that could be constructed on-site with the assistance of multiple Mataerial devices.
I for one welcome our new gravity defying, 3D-printing overlords and can’t wait to see where things go next. You can read much more about Mataerial on the team’s website and stay tuned to their Facebook or blog for more developments. (via dezeen)
The BioniCopter is the latest robotic marvel from German technology firm Festo, a company known for the creation of numerous devices that mimic wildlife including birds, jellyfish and penguins. Meant to mimic the motions of a dragonfly the BioniCopter is capable of flying in all directions including backward, and can also hover indefinitely in the same spot. Via Festo:
In addition to control of the shared flapping frequency and twisting of the individual wings, each of the four wings also features an amplitude controller. The tilt of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control allows the intensity of the thrust to be regulated. When combined, the remote-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in space. [… ] This unique way of flying is made possible by the lightweight construction and the integration of functions: components such as sensors, actuators and mechanical components as well as open- and closed-loop control systems are installed in a very tight space and adapted to one another. With the remote-controlled dragonfly, Festo demonstrates wireless real-time communication, a continuous exchange of information, as well as the ability to combine different sensor evaluations and identify complex events and critical states.
While many other remote-controlled dragonflies exist, many of which are available commercially as toys, the BioniCopter is the first device that can mimic the function of a plane, a helicopter, and a glider all in the same device. Learn more at Festo. (via rhumboogie)
Measuring Angst is a robotic sculptural installation by artist Jonathan Schipper that simulates the mundane act of throwing a glass bottle across a room into a brick wall. The event happens in slow motion, taking nearly 12 minutes to complete as the bottle rotates slowly through the gallery space and then gradually explodes into smaller fragments before rewinding and starting again. Schipper also famously (and somewhat infamously if you’re a car aficionado) crashed two muscle cars over a period of six days in his pieces entitled The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle.