Once the realm of just science and technology, robots now are turning up more and more in the world of fine arts, making appearances in art exhibitions, creative promotional campaigns, and even on stage in the theater.
A recent art exhibition at Davidson College in North Carolina featured several robotic installations specifically aimed at fostering interaction between visitors and robots. In one, five appendages with skeletal-looking hands mounted on a wall follow and point at onlookers who enter the room. When they sense a smile, the arms wave.
In another, three helium-filled balloons carry houseflies in chambers hanging from each blimp. A robotic system determines the movement of the blimps based on the movement of the swarms of flies inside each chamber.
We've collected examples of some of the other ways designers and artists have integrated robots into the creative arts. Click on the "Nerdbot" below to start the slideshow.
A Missouri couple has built an entire online business out of creating and selling art-inspired robots. Their site, Nerdbots, features a number of robots made out of found and unusual objects. Fanfare, pictured, consist primarily of the parts of an old rotary telephone. Most of the robots are crafted from objects the couple finds in antique and thrift stores and are priced in the $250 to $300 range. (Source: Nerdbots LLC)
Yes, Rob, I wonder what it is about Japanese culture that makes them more comfortable with robots than other cultures in the world. I guess it has something to do with the tendency that makes things like anime and monster movies (I'm thinking of "Godzilla" ;)) popular in Japan. I wonder if anyone has done a sociological study about it!
Thanks, Chuck. Yes, I think that your take on that art exhibit is probably right, even if it wasn't the intention of the artist. I think also as people become more comfortable with robots in different venues like the ones in this slideshow, the uncanny valley effect will begin to diminish.
Yeah, I actually wrote a story about the robot play when it was running in the U.S., Rob, but for one reason or another it didn't actually post on the site. But it was really interesting to talk to one of the actors and the playright and see what it was like to interact with robots, and what the audience reaction was. The Japanese seem to really like this sort of thing and be on the cutting edge of integrating robots more with humans.
I agree with all of you that this slideshow is pretty cool, if I do say so myself! I have to admit it was really fun to collect the photos and I learned a lot about projects I wasn't even aware of. Actually, Chuck that is a good question about the sleep art. Ann originally covered this (I think the link to the story is in the caption) so maybe she can weigh in. But I imagine it could be that the art is erratic if your sleep is. There is an iPhone app now that does what the robots did--you can try it and see what it comes up with!
This is very impressive, this shows how much robots are influencing our lives. They are not only targeting our needs, like in industry or government sector, but are also making impact on our every day lives.
I am very impressed with all the creative ways robots are used in this slideshown for artistic applications. I especially liked the "skeletal-looking hands" which were 'creepy' until you smiled and also the use of robots as actors. (Maybe the actor's union will object to this application...)
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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