posts tagged with the keyword ‘robots’


Here’s a video I put together to show how two of my art robots function. The video is playing right now in the gallery where some of the art is on display, as I mentioned previously.

Art Robot

Art Robot

You can do a lot with an Arduino, two servos, and a few other miscellaneous parts. ;)



The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association invited me to take part in a show titled “Beyond Your Imagination” which opens January 6, 2013 and runs through February 10, 2013.

So, you know, between the holidays, work, traveling, and other projects, I had to scramble to get Friday Night Drawbot and the Arc-O-Matic up and running again, with new code, and new parts, and create some art… with the help of robots.

So, consider yourself invited to the Seippel Homestead and Center for the Arts, 1605 North Spring Street, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to view the show. If all goes well I will be there Sunday, January 13, 2013 for a live demonstration of the art robots.

Friday Night Drawbot

tl;dr: See robot art I created. With robots.

Update! Here’s a video of the bots in action.

Update! Here’s a photo from the show opening, courtesy of Jason Gullickson.



Art #002

In almost all programming languages there’s a function to generate a random number. The random number can then be used to choose a random word, color, shape, etc. In art things are often random, but in specific ways. When drawing, can you really make your hand “randomly” create a line? Isn’t your subconscious always having some effect on the outcome? Short of feeding electric pulses to your muscles to make your arm movements “truly” random, I’m not convinced. (And no, I’m not ready to send live current to my own arms!)

This idea of introducing randomness to the creation of art is something I’ve been doing for a while now. I didn’t really think about it too much, but now I am.

Art #002

The Drawbot I built in 2011 brings this idea of randomness into its operation. The patterns I programmed into it had certain criteria (turn left, go forward, turn left, go backward) but the randomness is in the amount of movement. I like this because even though a device that’s mechanical and electronic should be able to repeat the same thing over and over again (and is sometimes expected to) this doesn’t. It’s also assembled with parts that are nowhere near precision in their movement, which adds more randomness to it all.

The Arc-O-Matic follows a similar concept. The current programming forces it to stick to a preset path (drawing arcs) with no randomness introduced into the code, but again, because of the lack of precision parts swinging around an arm with a pen on it, even when it tries to draw the exact same path, there are variations that cause them to be different each time.

Art #003

Besides the art robots that typically just draw an image, I’ve been experimenting with introducing randomness into the generation of other art, which is starting digital, and will eventually be part of the analog world. I’ve also got a few ideas for interactive digital pieces that will rely on input from the physical world, but still inject randomness into them.

So yeah, that’s sort of what I’ve been working on lately. I should have more to show and talk about in a month or so.


Maker / Hacker Podcasts

So what is the Gentleman Hacker or Lady Maker listening to nowadays in the way of podcasts? I don’t know… but I can tell you what I’ve been hearing. Here’s a round-up of some of my most recent podcast delights.

Hackerspace Digest
Recorded by the crew at Makers Local 256 in Huntsville, Alabama, the Hackerspace Digest is one of my favorites (and not just because they’ve mentioned Milwaukee Makerspace and myself a few times.) They typically talk about things happening at other hackerspaces as well as things they’ve been working on. Most of their focus seems to be US-based spaces, which is fine… we’ll get all international later. They provide ogg files for people who love freedom, and mp3 files for people who love convenience. Check it out.. Hackerspace Digest is probably one of my favorite podcasts right now.

Hack All The Spaces
I was excited to hear about a podcast from the UK! Out of Nottinghack came the “Hack All The Spaces” podcast. The members of the London Hackspace tend to talk about UK hackspaces (yeah, they are called “hackspaces” over there instead of “hackerspaces”) and ramble on about various hacking/making related topics. The audio quality still needs to improve, especially since they are no longer in the same physical location when they record. All podcasters: If you’re not using The Levelator, you should be! I often have problems listening in the car due to the difference in audio levels. (Granted, my car is pretty noisy.)

The Hackables
As long as we’re across the pond… a fairly new podcast called “The Hackables” put out two episodes (000 and 001) so far and the second (001) was better than the first (000) so that’s good! They are a motley bunch, sort of like the Hackerspace Digest crew, but with British accents and a lot more laughing. (I love British accents, and if you’re doing a UK podcast and you don’t have a British accent, you should get one!)

The Amp Hour
Alright, let’s head over to Australia and… Cleveland? The Amp Hour is two engineers talking about electronics (and other things) in a no-bull manner. I’ll admit that Dave took a little bit to get used to, but he’s pretty hilarious, and both he and Chris are smart guys. The Amp Hour gets a little too “electrical engineery” for me on occasion, but it’s definitely informative and entertaining.

Robots Podcast
Welcome… to The World of Robotics! If you’re into robotics, this is the podcast for you. It covers uh, the world of robotics… from researchers to commercial robotics companies, and the latest news and events. It’s about robots, duh. (It’s also a bit more professionally produced than a few of the others I’ve mentioned.)

Make: Talk
Our friends at Make have been talking to the makers who make the articles that show up in Make. Make: Talk is a fun series where Mark Frauenfelder interviews people about the cool stuff they do. So far they’ve all been pretty interesting to me but I think my favorite is still the one with Steve Hoefer. If you like Make you’ll probably like Make: Talk.

The Engineering Commons
Chris Gammell from The Amp Hour wasn’t satisfied doing just one podcast so he teamed up with Jeff Shelton to launch a new engineering podcast. As of right now they’ve only done two episodes, so it’s early days, but it could be one to keep an eye on.

Engineer Vs. Designer
New to me (but they’ve done nearly 40 episodes) is a podcast with an engineer and a designer which they are surprisingly calling Engineer Vs. Designer. I’ve listened to two episodes, and I’ve got plenty more I want to dig into. EvD is a pretty polished podcast, which fits them well.

So that’s my current list of “podcasts that I am listening to” right now. If I’ve missed any you think I should be listening to, or have any good recommendations, or just want to tell me what you are listening to… please do!


America Needs More Killbots!

RasterWeb! diffusing and confusing complex issues since 1997…

robot courtesy of

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