ITP Thesis Week 2009
Monday, May 4 - Friday, May 8

Creating with Cobots

Christian Cerrito

Exploring the process of art making between humans and "cobots", drawing robots designed for direct collaboration and interaction with their audience.

As tools, the projector and the computer screen have long dominated the world of interactive art. While these devices certainly have their uses, the pieces created with them are often fleeting; The richest of projected, virtual environments and screen based compositions all disappear a flick of a power switch, leaving no physical record of their impact on the audience, or the audience’s impact on the piece.

By combining one of the oldest, traditional art forms (drawing) with one of the newest and most innovative, (physical computing), I aim to create interactive installations with a slightly more permanent outcome. Over the past few months, I have built several autonomous “cobots”, or robots developed for direct interaction and collaboration with their operators/audience, that create unique and distinct works of art in a clear and direct partnership with their audience. Both prototypes and their users work in a symbiotic process, each readily contributing to the outcome of the drawings being created, in real time, before them. The finished physical compositions themselves will serve as a permanent record of the interactions that have taken place between the robots and their onlookers.

The first of the cobots, named ShadowBot, operates in a dim setting, and, by employing an array of light sensors, responds to the shadows of its viewers. The second machine, SoundBot, utilizes an amplified and filtered microphone output to react to noises created by its audience. Both of these cobots were built upon the ArdBot platform, an arduino based, modular robotics platform, developed from the ground up for the purposes of this project, as well as for future experimentation.

The works of Sol Lewitt, Kelly Dobson, Leonel Moura, Alexander Calder, Theo Jansen, Arthur Ganson.

Everyone. I believe that most people love to watch things being made. The audience will be engaged in this piece even further by having a direct hand in the composition of the art that is created.

User Scenario
Approach the cobot.





Take something away.

Ideally, the relationship between the creatures and the audience will be symbiotic, neither will be able to create without the input/reactions of the other.