Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bion - Adam Brown and Andrew Fagg

Bion” is an interactive installation that explores the relationship between humans and artificial life. “Bion” makes reference to an individual element of primordial biological energy identified as orgone by the scientist Wilhelm Reich. The installation is composed of hundreds of mass-produced, 3-dimensional glowing and chirping sculptural forms. Each bion, measuring approximately 4×3x2 ½ inches is an synthetic “life-form” fitted with an audio speaker, blue lights (LED’s), and multiple sensors. The bions are suspended by fine gage wire connected to panels that are attached to the ceiling. When installed the panels form clusters of bions arranged at different elevations. Each bion has the ability to communicate with the others and with viewers that enter the space.


!rBot is a mollusk-like structure made of leather, aluminum and steel. A mechanical system of cams and levers powered by two motors opens and closes !rBot’s shell. As the shell opens, a platform holding a shaking percussive rattle protrudes from the robot’s interior, receding again as the shell closes.

Lemur - Robotic Musical Instruments

LEMUR is a Brooklyn-based group of artists and technologists developing robotic musical instruments. Founded in 2000 by musician and engineer Eric Singer. Here are a couple of their instruments and I recommend checking out the videos on their site of them all in action.

Edge Monkeys - Stephen Gage & Will Thorne

In an article published in the cyber journal Technoetic Arts; Professor Stephen Gage of the Interactive Architecture Workshop and Will Thorne (UCL) describe a hypothetical fleet of small robots they call “edge monkeys.” Their function would be to patrol building facades, regulating energy usage and indoor conditions. Basic duties include closing unattended windows, checking thermostats, and adjusting blinds. But the machines would also “gesture meaningfully to internal occupants” when building users “are clearly wasting energy.” They are described as “intrinsically delightful and funny.”

via Architectural Record

Future Paintings
There is a lot of art out there that cobbles together timely social critique from classic video game and web imagery. But Michael Bell-Smith's videos, with their stylized colors, mini narratives, and figurative elements, have more in common with traditional painting than nostalgic digital bricolage. The artist's first solo show, entitled 'Focus Forward,' is now up at New York's Foxy Production Gallery, and the work on view typifies his painterly style. Displayed on an all-black version of a Pac-Man cocktail table, his figurative work, 'Birds Over the Whitehouse,' features colored blips circulating over a maze-like schematic of the famous home. The piece crafts the classic arcade console into an allegory for terrorist threats and the unreality of contemporary warfare. In 'Continue 2000,' Bell-Smith creates a video game-style cartoon apocalypse and uses it to channel the sublime awe of a Romantic painting into a critique of the fear and spectacle of modern disasters. The exhibition runs through May 27th, but if a trip to New York is impossible, each video can be viewed in its entirety on the gallery's website. -

Interactive Installation

An installation that has its autonomous life and leaves the "user" aside.


Artificial Intelligences and bots are increasingly populating real or virtual spaces. They are even sometimes standing alone in those spaces, waiting for hypothetical users to interact with them. First designed to fake human intelligence, the bots are now frequently used to interact with humans and to mimic them. When they are programmed to stimulate user's reaction through keyboards, screens, or other media, real human beings usually bring the variation in the discussion that often makes them perceive the A.I. as a real person.

But what happens if two A.I./chat bots talk together? What happens if, in addition, it is the same "brain" that drives the two hardware (two game consoles in this case)? What will they talk about?

Electroscape 004 develops these questions and sets up a kind of auto-logical and self reflexive environment (A.I. to A.I., PS2 to XBOX, self-spaces) where visitors are placed in the fringe, in a passive and frustrating posture, witnessing the two game consoles interacting and playing with each other, listening to their chat.

To whom does the space of the installation belong to? Is it public? Is it private? Does it belong to the two machines? All three? And how are used the data that are being collected by the machines?

The Gif show

The GIF Show, an exhibition opening today, at San Francisco’s Rx Gallery, takes the pulse of "GIF Luv," a frenzy of file-sharing and creative muscle-flexing associated with GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format files).


Curated by Marisa Olson in a Rhizome collaboration with Rx, the show presents GIFs and GIF-based videos, prints, readymades, and sculptures by artists, including Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, Jimpunk, Olia Lialina, Abe Linkoln, Lovid, Tom Moody, Paul Slocum, and Matt Smear (aka 893/umeancompetitor). From the flashy to the minimal, the sonic to the silent, the artists in The GIF Show demonstrate the diversity of forms to be found in GIFs, and many of them comment on the broader social life of these image files. Tonight's opening will be further animated by Eats Tapes's music and Nate Boyce's visuals.

Via rhizome.

Fantasy Island

Imagine a world filled with colourful creatures floating around in an orange sky. A world where you can dance the night away in a circus, with muscular full-bread stallions trotting around wearing clown's masks… Encounters with hybrid Formula 1 hammerhead sharks and a girl with hair from head to toe whom tenderly touches your hand…This is not a dream!

Fantasy island - exhibition Robinson shows the work by 13 international artists. On the surface these artists seem to invite us to wander around in their fantasy-world. When we take a closer look though, there seems to be more than meets the eye. This often bizarre universe appears to be constructed by the artist through a serie of rewritten laws of nature.

for more info check

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Connie Cheng and Leonardo Bonanni's Intelligent spoon

This project aims to introduce computing into traditional culinary utensils. It seeks to provide information, in an integrated manner, about any food the spoon is in contact with, and to offer suggestions to improve the food. The spoon is equipped with sensors that measure temperature, acidity, salinity, and viscosity, and is connected to a computer via a cable. The sensors evaluate the different properties of the food, and send them to the computer for further processing. Apart from consolidating measurements that are normally done by an array of equipments into a single spoon, the information obtained can be used to advise the users what their next step should be; for example, it tells the user if there is not enough salt in the brine prepared to make pickles. Link

Processing: Maths To Art In One Simple Step

Processing is a tool being used by artists around the world to create interactive digital masterpieces using a variety of different media. It is a worldwide open-source community project to boost the creativity of artists and designers in the modern digital age.
to read more click here

Thursday, April 13, 2006


One of the most surprising robots that appeared at the 9th Robo-One competition held in Tokyo on March 18-19th, 2006, was LAYERED-X developed by Asurada. Its unique design allows it to reconfigure and transform itself into some amazing shapes. At first it looks like a short tower, then becomes a carousel, then a walking spider, then into a tall biped battle robot. It can even transform an arm into a new leg and keep on fighting. Really amazing. For the latest robot news, information, hacks, photos, and videos with special on-site coverage from Japan, see Robots Dreams at

Monday, April 10, 2006

A robot that can reproduce

One of the dreams of both science fiction writers and practical robot builders has been realized, at least on a simple level: Cornell University researchers have created a machine that can build copies of itself.
Watch the movie here
Read more..


The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth
BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.

BigDog has an on-board computer that controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a wide variety of sensors. BigDog’s control system manages the dynamics of its behavior to keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.

So far, BigDog has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35 degree slope and carried a 120 lb load.

BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with help from Foster Miller, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station.Development is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office.

To watch a movie click here

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Android Science


[ReplieeQ2. via MouRa]

Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is the creator of the world's most human-like robot named ReplieeQ2 (a short video clip), is going forward with a seminal idea and hard work, some of which he may soon be able to delegate to an android of himself.

"I will not need to come here again" "I will send my android instead" - according to The Sydney Morning Herald, that is what he said at at an international conference that recently took place in Sydney. In order to ensure his new android would resemble him as closely as possible, he was already covered from top to toe in a plaster cast and precise measurements of his skull were taken. He expects to finish building the android of himself within a few months.

Last summer, Ishiguro gave a planery talk at a workshop, in which he talked about Android Science, a cross-interdisciplinary framework.

His paper is available for download from the workshop website. Androids and other robots are different in the way they are evaluated -- because androids are expected to resemble humans as much as possible. There are a number of unique research challenges that need to be addressed for building better androids. And one could say that many of these challenges are related to the issue of anthropomorphism.

Androids could also enable new methods for congnitive science research. Imagine an android version of Turing Test. Well, you can already do it with ReplieeQ2, I guess. Ishiguro discusses the issue of uncanny valley in relation to such a test. Uncanny valley corresponds to the state that androids imperfectly resemble humans and look like moving corpse. People will like them better if they look either more like humans or less like humans. I'm not an expert in this field, but it sounds like a key issues in this research.

Again, what's particularly interesting is the mutually benefitting relationship of android engineering and cognitive science -- because androids could help advance cognitive science research, which will perhaps help build better androids.

related website:
Android Science (Ishiguro Lab at Osaka University)

Independent Robotic Community

Independent Robotic Community, by Ricardo Iglesias and Gerald Kogler, looks for new forms of interaction between robots and humans.

A first level features a community of small robots divided into two groups, the black one and the green one. Each group has a primary level of socialization and a series of sounds conforming a unique vocabulary. Each robot’s initial state consists of a very simple movement within a delimitated spatial environment. When it comes across other robots, it exchanges information about its state with sounds and increases its degree of socialization. Each increase implies a development in the complexity of movements.


On a second level the users can participate with mobile phones and the Internet. They can connect to a program which communicates with the robots in real time and take influence on the state of sociability of each of the independent groups.

The installation consists of twenty robots, several cameras that record their movements in space and communicate the encounters that are generated to a social network system. These encounters are shown on a projector as a graphic display of crisscrossing lines. One of the robots is also equipped with a spy camera that represents one individual’s subjective point of view versus the graphic display of social statistics.

Made with Lego, the robots include also a programmable microprocessor, a chip to augment the possibilities to make different actions, and an infrared sensor to communicate. Two computers at the centre of the installation study the behaviour of the machines and send IR signals to modify the sociability of either the black or the green community.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Improvised robots

Dylan Tinlun Chan builds delightful robot toys out of junk electronic components.


Jia-Yi-Bing is a series of three robots. Jia ("alpha") was originally created as a gift for a friend. Reluctant to give away the new robot, the designer cloned Jia to make Yi ("beta"). Then he made a third copy, Bing ("gamma"), as a dancing partner for Yi.

His portfolio includes also an extremely useful trio of robots that sits on top of a fan. When a robot is activated it plunges a needle into the spinning fan blade to create noises. Different robots produce different noises and together they form a kind of noise instrument.