CREATIVE ROBOTICS WITH PATRICK TRESSET
For the second half of term II, we were asked to produce a creative robotics project. In the first week, we were introduced to robotics and creative/art robotics. In the second week we began to explore into the urbiscript language. I learned that Urbi (Universal Robot Body Interface) is a language used for developing applications in robotics which was developed by Jean-Christophe Baillie in 2003. During the month following thereafter, we were asked to get into groups to build and move our own robot using the Urbi language. My partner Noemi-Martinez Santiago and I decided to build a King Spider by using the “Bioloid Comprehensive Kit,” and named our creation Spiderbot. After building and working on the robot for several weeks, we realized that we could no longer get it to move the way we wanted it to because some of its motors had gotten burnt. Due to this, we had to start from scratch and decided to build another spider robot, but a smaller version with 8 motors and 1 sensor instead of 18 motors! These are some of the links we looked at to get an idea of how we could move our spider robot:
In addition, we researched into other artists who have used the spider object in their work, both in contemporary art and robotics. Some of the artists we looked at include: Louise Josephine Bourgeois' sculpture “Maman,” (1999), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's spider installation “TH.2058” (2008) and “Yokohama's Spider Robot,” built and designed by La Machine (2009).
Since neither of us had previous experience in working with robotics and the Urbi language, we did not anticipate what a challenge it would be to move the King Spider. Initially, we wanted to build a robot spider which we could display in a dark room and have people search for it with a torch while the robot would get attracted to the light and walk towards the viewer. The project showed us that that building and programming robots is a delicate and complex task which takes a lot of time, dedication and patience and even though we did not manage to exhibit our robot the way we wanted to, we are still pleased that we managed to make Spiderbot walk. It is triggered to walk with three claps and stops walking once you put your hand over its sensor. While the robot walks, it also limps, which gives it an interesting effect as is imitating a real, injured spiderlike character.