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Monday, 21 March 2011

Robox Ep2-Brainstorming (Getting Lost)

So I had my outline and for a while I allowed my mind to wander.  I had abandoned logic and any potential meaning temporarily in exchange I was racking my brain for what would be a really dope way to approach the project.

Off the bat I was worried about how i was going to get the robot to draw anything, seemed daunting.  Trying to teach a robot to move from one spot to another was hard enough to program, it'd be murder to get it to produce a work of art.  I was hung up on poorly drawn vivid- lineart images and how weary and frustrated that would make me.  During our run-down with Gabe i quickly realised this was not going to be the case.  I had to broaden my horizons, add a little creative flair

I first thought of doing something using lights and slow shutter speed.  Use the NXT unit to hold a camera and take in a series of lights in its surroundings, or attach a light to the unit itself with a stationary camera looking on (prolong the shot and create one continuous line of light)  Had seen friends use this technique in photography at high school, thought it'd be different and would produce wicked results.

Example of slow shutter speed photography and spin art

When Gabe mentioned pairing up with another group, a strong desire to join with the archery group's model to create something interesting took over (  Their robot was to me the most impressive in the assignment leading up to this one.  Using the missile component to pop balloons full of paint would be an interactive process, and one that had the potential to make a really big colourful mess (something I was really keen to do with this project)

Where I wanted to go with the paint balloon idea, on a slightly smaller scale

A few other light bulbs flicked on but none of real merit, After our run-down we were informed that there was nothing stopping us from disbanding and re-forming groups.  I was looking forward to this opportunity.  Not to detract from my team-mates so far, but I wanted to work with some new people, get to know them and their talents.  I ended up in a new team of five (Sam, Jason, Jenny, and Marty who I later found out was actually named Matt)  With hindsight I think we worked well together, and would take the opportunity to do so again.

We pooled our ideas, and it turned out the light photography brainwave wasn't as original as i had previously thought.  Jenny's group had discussed it before parting ways, which meant her previous teammates could be pursuing that path also.  I'm glad we didn't run with this idea, as it turned out to be pretty popular with the other groups.  Not that it wasn't done well, but one more would have crowded the idea when it came time to present our work.

We discussed allsorts, sculpture, paint, light, sound.  We also toyed with various themes (I was glad we were all on the same page -that this was an important part of the process)  My personal favorite was the chronological life of a robot who develops new senses (sensory interaction) as it grows and matures.  A good idea, but one that may have ended up difficult to really take as far as we would have liked.  We also looked at spin art, and suspending the unit over rotating canvases. Would have been cool, but difficult to include an appropriate level of interactivity, and difficult to produce a variety of different images.

Retro Spin Art

In the end I think we all agreed that working with paint would be simple, allow for as much interactivity as we chose to include, and create some sweet images.  We looked at trailing appendages or roll balls over paint covered surfaces, we looked at how to automate the dispensary mechanism, allowing the robot to carry the paint on its own. (I felt this was vital to legitimize the value of the robot in the whole process)  We then had the idea to use two surfaces.  The robot would interact with both in a different way, showing two aspects of expression from one programming input.  This was also interesting as it allowed us to work with the concept of duality, of input/output, and the relationship between robot and creator.  The idea stuck, and we left that evening to research and develop.  We would meet up again tomorrow to discuss where we had individually gone with the idea.

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