Oribotics [lab] Realisation
OverviewThe project can be clearly divided into 3 key elements:
2) Electronic Audio Visual Enviroment, and
3) Mobile phone SMS interactive system.
All elements are deliberately simplified (relatively speaking), to enable a flexibility between the systems and modes of installation which the work is likely to be presented in. Oribotics [laboratory] is the 2nd generation of Oribotics, and builds upon 3 years of research, including a residency in Tokyo, and funding from all levels of Australian arts funding bodies..
The oribots use a carefully desiged crease pattern, one that allows a dramatic shape transformation with little tension in the system. The first generation required the folds to pivot through 180º, requiring a lot of force, the new generation has minimised this angle to less than 120º. The basic concept of the mechanics which transform the paper is based on the human hand. A 5 petalled flower requires a 5 fingered mechanism to open it. This hand uses a simple, push/pull mechanism to actuate, akin to a muscle flexing.
The Electronic Design of the oribot uses a C programmed PIC microcontroller to read an LDR (Light Dependant Resistor), and translates this information into the position of a servo motor arm.
2) Electronic Audio Visual Enviroment
The projection was designed to relay live weather data to the oribots, giving them a connection the world. It was achieved with by a Macromedia Flash application, with actionscripted animation, images, and sounds. Mac Mini's (perfect for travelling installation) were configured with php, mysql, and flash, to gather live data from weather.com. One Mac for each projector, and group of 5 oribots. The amount of data was optimised for this configuration. The flash application is coded with a setup mode, which allows for scaling, positioning, and database connections for each oribot. The main form of communcation between the machines is xml, written dynamically from mysql by php. Its common web technology, and perfect for this kind of distributed, dynamic installation. While the system was designed to be local, the model can be used globally, or used in combination with an internet presence of the work.
3) mobile phone SMS interactive system
This system was designed to create an intimate connection between the audience and the bots; a cross between gardening, messaging a friend, and commanding a robot. This system was developed during an ANAT (Australian Network for Artists and Technology) artists lab. It was achieved with Processing as an authoring tool, and connected a mobile phone via a USB cable. Using a serial connection, incoming messages were read and deleted from the phone, and stored in a mysql database for later retrieval and parsing by a request from one of the oribot machines. A 3rd projector, or monitor is used to relay the instructions to the viewer.