Monday, September 22, 2008
During the Fall/Spring 2008-09 we will be at the
University of Michigan TCAUP (link). Jason Johnson will be serving as the Oberdick Research Fellow, and Nataly Gattegno will be the Muschenheim Fellow. During the Summer of 2009 we will serve as the 2008-09 New York Prize Fellows at the Van Alen Institute in New York (link) working on our Aurora interactive installation.
* All 2008/09 updates will be published here: FUTURE CITIES LAB . NET
Monday, July 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Inch a little closer and the robot will come toward you, too. Then it might even have something to say.
University of Virginia students on Sunday displayed moving, blinking, music-making robots, a culmination of a course that produced non-humanoid automata that filled gallery space at the School of Architecture. Some there suggested that the interdisciplinary approach in the “Robotic Ecologies 2008” class provides a window into the future.
Architecture, music, engineering and computer science students collaborated in small groups to create what they called “sonic spatial” instruments. For example, one of the instruments, called “Medusa,” would create drum-like sounds after its long tentacles were flicked. One tentacle would activate another tentacle nearby, and flashing lights corresponded as drum-like beats reverberated throughout. Other robots relied on motion and infrared sensors, and would respond with notes to touch or even proximity.
Jason Johnson, the UVa architecture professor who headed the class of 15 that produced the three robots in just a semester of work, said he wanted to combine students from seemingly disparate fields of study “and see what [happened].”
“The critical part was to get these guys to talk,” Johnson said. What emerged, he said, provides a window into a future that combines disciplines and makes the virtual a reality.
One such “cultural artifact” is Apple’s iPhone, he said. The phone, Johnson said, combines audio, visual and sensory items in a “beautiful object.” Two engineers sitting down to solve a problem wouldn’t have come up with it, Johnson said.
Students said the robots are more than just physical things that respond to simple computer programs. Yuri Spitsyn, a doctoral candidate in music, said the robots provide a new look at the idea of our surroundings. Though the students’ robots are just small prototypes, similar designs could be produced on a much larger scale to create a more immersive experience.
“For me, it’s more like an environment,” Spitsyn said.
Cammy Brothers, a UVa professor who teaches renaissance architecture, was impressed with how the disciplines gelled.
“It’s stretching each of the disciplines,” Brothers said. “They occupy this new category of object that’s between architecture and instrument. The point is that architecture now is barely engaging movement or robotics. The idea of sensitivity … responsiveness and robotics has a lot of potential.”
[Correction Note from Jason: Unfortunately this article does not mention that the seminar was co-taught with Prof. Matthew Burtner and we were assisted greatly by our T.A. Troy Rogers from the VCCM.]
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Digitalis Festival is a joint production of the Virginia Center for Computer Music (VCCM), UVa's Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) and UVa's ITC. Interactive Maestro by Prof. Jason Johnson, Prof. Matthew Burtner in collaboration with the VCCM, IMRG, UVa School of Architecture, Future Cities Lab LLC, the Robotic Ecologies Lab and the MICE Project. Project assistance by Joy Wang, Megan Manion and Troy Rogers.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The Robotic Ecologies Emergent Effects Workshop 2008 is running during the next two weeks from Jan 30 to Feb 13, 2008. The group will be meeting Wednesday nights from 7:00 - 10:00pm Campbell Hall Exhibition Room C. We will be hosting a series of electronics sessions including an intro to solar driven robotics led by Troy Rogers on Feb 6. Final prototypes will be presented on Feb 13.
From the workshop handout: Emergent behaviors are rendered visible when a small number of self-organizing agents interact in simple ways to produce complex patterns or effects. A familiar example is the collective swarming behavior of starlings: individual birds, with no top-down directive, follow simple rules to form extraordinary shape changing patterns in the sky. Many other dynamic processes in the material world, from bees to flowing metals to entire cities, can be explained using emergence theory.
The aim of the workshop is to invent and build small-scale machines that are capable of generating and registering these emergent effects. During this process we will be developing and situating small performative machines capable of generating, interacting and registering their own emergent patterns over time. Unlike typically linear processes of cause and effect, you will propagate wild forms of expression – dynamic marks, traces, notations and the like – that will emerge from the interplay of these synthetic modes, materials, and mediums with their environment.
An exotic host of base materials, electronics and mechanisms will be provided. If necessary, during the week you should also pillage the likes of the second-hand shops, toy stores, hardware stores, the recycling bins, the garbage, etc. There is no need to expend lavish amounts of capital – be inventive!
Pictured Above: A photograph of an sound-material experiment by Hans Jenny - Spores of moss (lycopodium) form emergent clusters that rotate around their own axis, while the larger collection of clusters rotates around the central axis of the plate.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
PICTURED ABOVE > Last night, after some brief introductions, the seminar attended a fascinating performance by the Autonomous String Performing Instrument at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Belmont. The A.S.P.I. was created by Troy Rogers, Scott Barton and Steven Kemper. Thanks also to Peter Traub for introducing us to his ItSpace sound and social networking installation.
Photo Above: The creators of the A.S.P.I. bot > Scott Barton (left), Troy Rogers (right), and Steven Kemper (not shown) - photo by M.Maki.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The bottom four images were also discussed in the seminar last night. They are examples of contemporary projects that suggest an entirely new set of ideas that might guide the future of our cities and landscapes. Descriptive words that were used to describe these projects were: Soft, Intelligent, Indeterminate, Networked, Interactive, Emergent, Atmospheric, Responsive, Bio-mimetic, Real-time, Information-driven, Sustainable, Smart, Metabolic ... How will these various ideas organize themselves to define our future physical environments? What are the politics underlying their potential manifestation both physically, ecologically and socially? (credits: watanabe japan, obuchi uk, decoi usa, eth zurich)