Irritable Lamp in a Garden

This project was created and executed in collaboration with Benjamin Stern, Avi Rudich, Elton Spektor, Tom Scherlis, and Abel Tesfaye for 16–375 Robotics for Creative Practices at Carnegie Mellon University. The project itself was largely self-led with the only prompt: how can we use robotics to create tension and convey emotion.

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The Players

In terms of fabrication, we knew that our system of robots would be a conglomeration of lasercut and 3D printed parts. We began thinking of forms and characteristics each robot would take on. Originally we thought of expressions of emotions like laughter and fighting, the concept being that the lamp would be the surveyor and patron of these performances in a garden. from there we found our way to animals both conceptual and literal. These supporting robots eventually played roles in our garden, with our lamp standing in the middle. We repurposed robots from our past show in addition to creating new conceptual robots to take on personas that the lamp would be supervising.

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kinematic models that inspired the motion of the garden players
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these are our garden players
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Fabrication

The lamp itself was made of a combination of 3D printed and laser-cut parts. We decided to remain consistent with the two link arms that inspired all of the motion we used, thus our form followed that style as well.

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The Mo-Cap Integration

This project coordinates an “intelligent” lamp that can rotate continuously, tilt, turn on/off, and control a set of three background robot automata. The robot senses through a motion capture system setup in the performance gallery. The robot’s control loop is closed through the motion capture system, so it is required for operation. A simple simulator is provided to test the system without a motion capture system, including testing the robot hardware “simulator-in-the-loop” with a simulated mocap system and robot.

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Final Performance

Collaborative Design and Technology

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