Saturday, January 21, 2006

Creative Loafing covers the Dorkbot meeting


creative loafing article



Putting the "bot" in dorkbot that evening was presenter Keith Rowell. Rowell screened video clips of robots, including robots walking, robots running, robots fighting one another, robots shooting flames, a stylish robo-rhino, and much to the amusement of the audience, a robot kicking a wastebasket down a set of steps. When finished, he fired up his own creation, a biped robot named Knewt. It looked like a robo-dinosaur.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Knewt Presents at the first Dorkbot Atl meeting


Dorkbot presentation

Dorkbot is an art group that is making use of technology as a medium. Their motto is "people doing strange things with electricity". There were about 30 people there and they seemed to have a good time.

Knewt was 3rd on the agenda following Greg Kellum and Craig Dongoski.

Greg's endeavor uses a computer and midi dimmers to control lights. He did a very cool "layering" of control to add hand motions from a data glove, on top of a programmed sequence. It had an eerie "ethereal" effect, like dappled shade of trees in the breeze, or sun through broken clouds. He explained all the technical aspect pretty thoroughly.

Craig showed a system for reaching the "sound of drawing". He controls various electronic input with the user's input on a special piezo board that makes the drawing process "audible". The samples we listened to were very thought provoking. In the "nonsense" one could make out the scratching of a pen, breathing, barking, voices. The objective it seems is to evoke images from the listeners sub-consciousness. I'ld say it works, because you can't really discern the noises, but they are strangely familiar. Like a tool for getting into the creative "zone".

These are two fine examples of interface technology being used for creative purposes. Art being the motive. I wonder what it would look like to have art techniques being used for technological purposes? A cliche might be conductive paint used as circuitry. Any other suggestions?

In Knewt's portion of the show, I showed lots of the reference material that inspired Knewt to be built in the first place, and talked about what makes up the "robot aesthetic" in general comparing the "cute" factor in Japanese design to the "terminator" factor in American movie robots. The response was very good, I think it was a success.

Thanks to Jason Freeman for organizing the meeting and for having Knewt on the agenda.