The Artbotics opening took place at both the 119 Gallery and the Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA. The exhibits contain works which integrate both art and technology. UMASS Lowell students showed their work at the 119 Gallery as part of the “Play” exhibit” and Lowell High students showed their work at the Revolving Museum as part of the “Other Side” exhibit. “Play” will show at the 119 Gallery from April 26 through May 5.
“Play” and “Other Side” are the culmination of students learning about art, computer science, and robotics where the final result is an interactive and public exhibit. The students incorporate microcontrollers, motors, LEDs, and various sensors to make their exhibits interactive. While there were many great exhibits, this article covers only a few.
Music in Motion
“Music in Motion” by Nathan Maillet allows the viewer to create music by walking back and forth in front of sensors. As the viewer walks back and forth, hammers will hit the keys on a xylophone. A different sensor controls each hammer, so the viewer (and listener) can create music. The high level of control makes the exhibit interesting because it is possible to create many musical combinations.
A pile of trash sits in the corner of the 119 Gallery. As one approaches, two recycled trash monsters rise out of the trash to greet the unsuspecting visitor. It looks like the monsters might attack but as soon as they look at their visitors with bright green eyes, they retreat back into the trash frightened.”Trash Monster” by Julia Donigian and Alyssa McCann does an excellent job of portraying an interesting environment in which the monsters live.
“Simply Over-Engineered” by Eric McCann features a shy robotic arm named Claude. Anytime the viewer puts his or her hand near the arm, Claude will move away with his two degrees of freedom of movement. According to McCann, Claude is “a nice robot once you get to know him”; McCann should know with 60 hours of work fine tuning Claude. The viewer interaction with Claude provides a unique experience as it is fun to see how Claude will react to a viewer’s hand movements.
The “Other Side” exhibit featured creatures from a dark underworld. Some creatures might be related to animals seen on this earth, such as a snake and crocodile, while other creatures were definitely out of this world. The size of a huge bug, a strangely colored egg with tentacles, and a creature with tentacles hanging from the ceiling contributed to the eerie atmosphere.