Update #1 (as a video)

This is a short video showing some of the software I have written so far. I figured a video would be faster and cleaner and able to stay on the blog. For the class update I will show the video and expand on and clarify a few things.

Enjoy the rest of your spring breaks,


p.s. I even gave it Categories this time! I dont enjoy giving posts categories :<

Robot Milking Cow

Artists,Bio-inspired,Reference,Robotics,Technique — Robb Godshaw @ 4:18 pm

You are likely aware of the tech, but this is a sight to see.

PID Control – Robots on Bicycles

Arduino,Robotics,Technique — Robb Godshaw @ 6:32 am

A proportional-integral-derivative controller is an mathy solution to a real world problem. www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mT3vfSQePcs#t=13s Problems PID can solve:

  • Put a robot on a bicycle
  • Precisely maintain temperature of something
  • Add appropriate amount of chlorine to a flowing stream
  • Keep a spinning plate on a stick
  • Control altitude of a pingpong ball on a blower
  • Levitate metal objects with an electromagnet

At this point, I would like to warn you. Wikipedia is not your friend for this subject. That article is baffling and mathy. I’ll start the way I did, when I developed a curiosity around this pesky thing a year ago. Deadbang control a method of controlling things with a continuous input and a discrete output. Your home’s thermostat functions this way. You set a temperature on a continuum, and if your home gets colder than a a set amount, it turns on. There is some stickyness(setpoint 75°, but goes on at 73°). This is the simplest way to control closed-loop systems. A closed loop system is one where the output is monitored and adjusted based on real world conditions. Open-Loop things are just assumed to be behaving correctly. Most open-loop things rely on humans to “close the loop” (stop at position/destination) or are simply timed.   What PID does is allows for effective and efficient control of things with continuous input and preferable continuous output. In real life, heating water is not as simple as turning the heat on until it is hot enough. Your sensor likely has some sort of delay. Also, the heating element may end up flashing spastically and wearing out with deadbang control. It can do finer things too. The segway relies on PID for balance. It pretends to be a human. There is an Ardurino library that is apparently not horrible. It hides all the math and has autotune. The math is actually simple, but wikipedia makes everything mathy hard. I’ll know more when I’ve actually used it.

Project Paradise – 1998

Artists,Robotics,Theory — Robb Godshaw @ 1:28 am

Project Paradise is an very early exploration of issues surrounding telepresence and telexperience. Two participants enter booths in a gallery setting. The booths are equipped with a ringing telephone and a small monitor. When the participant answers the call, they are greeted with a kind voice which explains the interaction. Using the keypad on the phone, they are able to control a naked person in distant jungle setting. Both nude avatars are able to stroke and jab oneanother via the various telephone-controlled motors attached to their limbs. Watch the video, this description does no justice.

Wow. What fun. I am struck with the complexity they are able to glean from such simple analog electronics. Relays, motors, and CCTV combine to shake the particiapnts perception and role as a gallery goer. Is it socially acceptable for one to caress the naked flesh of a stranger? Who is held responsible for the action, the decision-maker or the limb-owner? Is the gesture of affection effectively carried through the medium of touch-tone and CCTV? If so, how far does it travel? All the way from participant to participant it seems unlikely that there would be lossless transmission of affection after all of the state changes. Instantly stripped from the gesture is the bodies of each participant. Eye contact, body language, warmth, physical beauty, even gender are removed at once. Intent and recognition of intent may be all that remain from the point of view of opposing participants. from the point of view of our avatars, the situation is the opposite. Present are their bodie and all that they entail. Eyes, genitals, apparent beauty, and history inorm their experience. These are individuals who have spent many hours caressing one another nude. Their lengthy exchange of contact is lacking a very important facet of intimacy. Intent. Neither party is responsible for their actions, being frequently reminded by the cold and loud apparatus that is driving the contact. The avatars supplement the motors by making small movements that carry on the intent of the limited mechanics. They smile, rub, and appear to be what is clearly a spritely fantastic time.

The Centre for Metahuman Exploration- Field Robotics Center – 1998

Carnegie Mellon University


assignment 4.

Assignment,Robotics,Submission — Tags: , — joel_simon @ 12:53 am

Pendulum mimicry


“2 robot interaction”

(Please take notice of my lil gut hangin’ out… this gym is for us lazy kids with bad posture)




Socially intelligent agents , the first steps.

Robots socially integrated into society is a hot topic for futurist discussion and an often used idea for hollywood. The ability to understand human nuance, implication and subtlety is one of the most alluring and distant goals for robots. While these more ambitious goals are still a way off it is interesting to see where robots are already entering into useful rolls in society. I think the beginnings of it are happening now, with robots being used on more fringe parts of society, like assisting the elderly and those with mental disabilities. In this video we see some robots that are used to help the elderly in japan, a country with a greatly disproportionate elderly population.

This is Paro a robot that mostly avoids uncanny valley by being a robotic stuffed animal. This type of companion bots are supposedly already being used to keep the elderly and children with autism company although I do not know the degree of use.

I think robots will continue to enter into domains classically considered human. Perhaps baby and infant care is next. As often happens with revolutionary changes the change is first seen as impossible, then slowly unavoidable.

The Discontented Robot

This little device made by David Bowen must be a version of Braitenberg’s vehicles that has attractive behavior to what it senses (either 2b or 4a). The nice thing about this little bot is that it synthesizes its own power from the source that it is attracted to. The set up is slightly different in that the object of desire is out of reach and so the bot ends up circling around the light source never satisfied.



The following work by Matthew Hebert (posted below) relates to a discussion Adam, Dakotah, Rob and I had regarding where art belongs…. I think we decided that, eventually, inevitably, it seems to always end up, as all life does, buried in a land pit somewhere. Personally, I don’t mind if stuff I make ends up in the garbage. But I don’t really want to get into a discussion about whether art is “wasteful” or not, or whether it should be “useful” or not.

Instead, let’s just check out this project that might excite Adam, since it combines robotics with design & “utilitarian” shit for your home… you know, furniture.


^    This table is kind of “whimsical” (in a when-robotics-hits-Crate-&-Barrel sort of way?). But the designer is obviously a theory dork (<- no negative connotation), since here we see one of Braitenberg’s vehicles!  Maybe 2a style, mentioned on p.6?  Though you might not be able to tell from this not very revealing video, these little robots, imprisoned between two sheets of glass, move in the sun, and stay still in the “shade.” Their motors are most likely attached to light sensors. This creates a nice effect when you put something down on the coffee table, since they will flock to it and hide under it. Would I put this in my home if someone gave it to me? Sure. (But as Bob Bingham would ask, “Is it art yet?”)

Here’s another piece based on simple Braiteneberg architectures: a bench that moves itself into the sun (using light sensors in the front, back, and on both sides, as well as a microcontroller). These benches have solar panels on their seats that charge their battery (except, I guess, when someone’s sitting on one…hmmm….)   Watch out, this video is rather lengthy.

[Do we always have to use that Strauss composition from 2001 when introducing a monolithic design?][yes]


Coming from the “art” perspective: I think these projects could be more interesting if they complicated the nature of braitenberg architectures, perhaps simultaneously complicating the notion of utilitarian furniture. What if these devices were structured not to be useful? If this furniture made use of slightly extended models of braitenbergian forms (see the Lambrinos / Scheier article)… the emergent behaviors might appear more complex. This could get really weird and interesting, if we’re talking about furniture that is reacting to human use. Incorporating “artificial” learning, or the type of seemingly socially intelligent behaviors discussed in the article we read about folk-psychology might turn a table or a chair into something we really have to think about interacting with…. Heidegger would go bananas.


And last, this Hebert guy takes a stab at “art” !!

After all, if there’s one way to be SURE you’re making art …. it’s by putting it in a museum!

This apparently was a commission from the San Diego Museum of Art in 2011 for a weekly series themed around the topic of “what a city needs.”  Here, Hebert says he is approaching this theme “from an interest in power infrastructure and it’s critical importance to the city,” in relation to the often geographical remoteness of most of those forms of power. (Which apparently is especially true in San Diego). Hebert took public domain models from the Google SketchUp library, 3D printed them in ABS plastic, wired electronics to them, and placed them in the museum in what we MIGHT call “non-traditional” locations. Sounds like a well-followed recipe right out o’ the ol’ “art” cookbook to me!







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