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.
These lovely sharpie drawings are a collaboration between Matt W. More (previously) and aarn who turned Matt’s vector drawings into machine language and then fed the instructions to a 3-axis CNC machine wielding a black Sharpie marker that proceeded to draw the prints. Each print from the limited edition is signed and numbered and comes with the Sharpie used to make it. Available in the MWM Graphics Shop. Video by Paper Fortress Films
I was checking out some photos emerging from this weekend’s Interesting 2011 conference held in London (there was a world record attempt at ping pong ball mouse trap nuclear fission, among other things) when I stumbled onto a portrait of the group’s organizer Russel Davies being drawn with a very strange device. It turns out the robotic drawing machine was built by maker/designer/craftsman Sandy Noble and he calls it a Polargraph which is really nothing more than a pen attached to string that’s moved by two small motors. With an assist from good ‘ole gravity and some clever software the pen arcs back and forth, similar to a standard back-and-forth plotter printer, creating the beautifully textured drawings above.
Drawing machines are certainly nothing new, what with Harvey Moon’s Drawing Machine that successfully debuted on Kickstarter last year, and even Eske Rex’s enormous weight balanced spirograph drawing machine. However this variation on the design shows lots of exciting potential for such a primitive if somewhat quixotic method of drawing. You can learn more about the nitty gritty details of Noble’s printer here and see some more photos here.
I have been walking by Christopher Furman‘s storefront gallery for several years here in Chicago where he often displays two or three of his robotic objects whirring away for passersby to enjoy. Through strange coincidence it turns out we have a mutual friend and after a quick email he pointed me to a video for his beautiful installation The Crowd. Christopher is currently working on a theater company called, yes, the Chicago Robotic Theater (!). Stay tuned for more info this summer.
Several photos and videos from the third annual 2011 Kinetica Artfair going on this very moment in London through February 6.
An unusual event now in its third year, this London fair brings together kinetic, electronic, robotic, sound and light art works. [...] An edgy underground atmosphere pervades the exhibition, both literally, being held in the vast basement space of the Ambika P3 gallery, and stylistically with a host of international artists who are, in the best sense, geektastic.