Kinetic sculpture takes a page from modern life

The blurry image above is a snap of toy cars as they zoom around a multi-lane, multi-level, maniacal-maze called Metropolis II. We originally took a look at the video after the break (do it now!) but found more information on [Chris Burden’s] kenetic sculpture in this NYT article. He and eight studio artists began work on the project back in 2006. They built 1200 custom designed cars and gave them a huge city to traverse, with up to 18 lanes at times. The work is not yet done, and the video below is dated (having been filmed in 2009), but project is slated to conclude in about two months and the installation has already been snapped up by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

And here we thought this was the product of an out-of-work packaging system design engineer. Nope, it’s art, and it certainly eclipses other kinetic sculptures we’ve seen.

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As promised: more industrial robot goodness

Remember [Mattythorne]? He took a BMW industrial arm and re-purposed it to write twitter messages on a white board. You can read a small excerpt here.

Well [Matt] is back, and as promised includes an entire write up for how he got @scribblebot scribbling twitter messages.  It’s a little light on details and we wish there was some more in-depth how-to magic, but then we remembered with most of the population not having an industrial arm in the first place the extra time spent incorporating the extra info would be far from worth it. Regardless, it doesn’t surprise that the previous commentators were not far off the mark in how difficult programing one of these machines would be. While such arms do have a few built in libraries it looks like a very exhausting process to override the default axis of motion, incorporate a UI, build a pen holder, and more. And in the end, is it worth it? [Matt] tells us the arm is going to be going back to monotonous car building work soon, giving weeks of prep only a day in the limelight.

Re-purpose industrial robotic arms

We must find out where you can acquire these industrial robots pictured above. Sure, you expect car companies like BMW to have a few lying around, which they used to make into a Twitter message writing robot. But Bungie, a video game company, to have one as part of an advertisement for Reach?

The former is just a scratch on the surface, with some pictures, but a much more decent writeup will be provided after September 12th. The latter has a few videos, and you can watch it recreate a monument with light ‘live’. And while both are impressive uses of old tech, neither answered our first question, we gotta get us one of these.

[Thanks Matt and FurryFriend]

Ball catching bot

Who needs a robot that can catch a tennis ball? We do. What would we do with it? Probably just throw tennis balls at it, that’s the only use we can think of. The work of University students in Kunzelsau and Vienna, it is actually a prototype for new transport systems for industrial robots. Though they don’t list any specific instances where this is a practical method of transport, we think maybe a tennis ball factory would be a good place to start. We can also envision a robot baseball league between this bot and the extremely dexterous ones we’ve covered before.

[via BotJunkie]