When: Oct-Dec 2018
Who I worked with: Akshat Prakash and Soonho Kwon. Under professor Garth Zeglin.
My role: I worked in the role of an "integration engineer" for this project, which meant I was a part of all aspects of the design and construction process - which included designing and fabricating the final object while also working on both the code, the C.V. and the electronics.
What this was: A simple drawing bar fitted out with computer vision sensors and servos, allowing for an inconspicuous looking object to be a mischievous parter in the crime of drawing. We want to intervene and add another character in the drawing experience by disrupting it with an unexpected, seemingly mischievous character that reduces the precise control that the artist has over their canvas.
Feedback we received:
"Anti-Drawing Machine is a very well-crafted and engaging experience.
I think the work succeeds well at both being 'surprisingly animate' and using behavior as
a medium for creative expression. It works very well on its own
premises; with a few superficial touch-ups this piece would be
completely at home in a venue like Wood Street Gallery or other similar
contemporary art settings, and would be received with delight and joy." - Prof Garth Zeglin.
In general, there was a spectrum of feedback, from mild frustration to wild enjoyment. Most of the participants did not recognize any sort of logic in the robot motion unless they specifically asked about it. This was largely due to the focus mainly being on the drawing itself. Ultimately, everyone who tried the machine told us they had a fun time and were extremely pleased to have created a drawing that is not necessarily perfect. This machine seemed to alleviate the expectations to make drawings with extreme craft, and it kind of “evened the playing field” for all participants. To us, a big part of this class is gaining an understanding how the characteristics of robotics and embodied behavior can be used to intrigue and alter human behavior. We believe that by taking a paradigm that is already established (the practice of drawing) and interfere with it, we can highlight and ascribe character to this robot.
For our final exhibition, we perfected our movement and sealed everything inside of a clean box. We wanted to have paper available for people to take and draw on, so we cut 30 sheets of 18″ x 18″ paper. The lighting was set so that all the focus was on the paper.
We wanted to embrace this “child-like” aesthetic because of how the drawings looked, so we chose to use Crayola markers!
The process of making this machine was incredibly fun, working in an anti-disciplinary team with a computer scientist and a designer, it really showed me the power of fruitful collaboration. From prototyping to testing, we were able to meet all the challenges head on and brainstorm and solve them as a team.