ROBOCHOP! It Slices, Dices, But Wait! There’s More…

You’re gunna love my cuts. 

KUKA robots are cool. They’re both elegant and terrifying to watch in action as they move unyieldingly to preform tasks. Not many of us get to use industrial tools like this because they aren’t exactly trivial to wield (or cheap!). Artists [Clemens Weisshaar] and [Reed Kram] however created an installation that allows anyone to potentially control one of these orange beauties to do their bidding… all from the safety and comfort of a computer chair.

For their piece, “ROBOCHOP”, the artists developed a web app that allows you to easily manipulate the surface of a virtual cube. You can rotate for positioning and then use a straight or curved line tool to draw vectors through its surface and subtract material. Once you’re finished sculpting your desired masterpiece, one of the four KUKA robots in the installation will retrieve a 40 x 40 x 40 cm block of foam and shape it into a real-life version of whatever you created in the app.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 1.03.39 PMStarting today you can visit the project’s website and upload your own mutilated cube designs. If your design is selected by the artists, it will be among the 2000 pieces carved by the robots throughout their installation during CeBit in Hanover. After the show, your cube spawn will then be mailed to you free of charge! The only way I could see this being cooler, is if they filmed the process so you could watch your shape being born.

Anyhow, I personally couldn’t resist the invitation to sculpt Styrofoam remotely with an industrial grade robot arm and came up with this gem.

You can go to their page if you want to give the app a go, and really… why wouldn’t you?

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Ro-Bow, The Violin Playing Robot

There are robots that will vacuum your house, mow your lawn, and keep their unblinking electronic eyes on you at all times while hovering hundreds of feet in the air. How about a robot that plays a violin? That’s what [Seth Goldstein] built. He calls it a ‘kinetic sculpture’, but there more than enough electronics and mechatronics to keep even the most discerning tinkerer interested.

There are three main parts of [Seth]’s violin-playing kinetic sculpture. The first is a bow carriage that draws the bow across the strings using an electromagnet to press the bow against the strings. The individual strings are fingered with four rubber disks, and a tilting mechanism rotates the violin so the desired string is always underneath the bow and mechanical fingers.

As far as software goes, the Ro-Bow transforms MIDI files into robotic mechanization that make the violin sing. From what we can tell, it’s not quite as good as a human player; only one string at a time can be played. It is, however, great at what it does and is an amazing mechanical sculpture.

Video Below.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong Giving a Robot a Chainsaw?

Chainsaw wielding robot

[Morgan Rauscher] is a rather eccentric artist, inventor, maker, professor… jack of all trades. His latest project is called the Art-Bot – and it’s an 8′ robotic arm equipped with a chainsaw. Did we mention you can control it via arcade buttons?

He’s been building sculptures for over 10 years now, and has enjoyed observing the evolution of automated manufacturing – from CNC machines to laser cutters and even now, 3D printers. He loves the technologies, but fears machines are making it too easy – distancing us from the good old physical interaction it once took to make things with a few simple tools. His Art-Bot project attempts to bridge that gap by bringing tactile transference to the experience.

The cool part about the Art-Bot is that it is mostly made of recycled materials – in particular, bicycle parts!

Making a robot from bicycle parts is really not that difficult, and I highly recommend it.

The rest of the robot consists of electric actuators (linear), the control circuitry, and of course — a chainsaw. For safety’s sake, [Morgan] also built a polycarbonate wall around it to protect users from it going on a murderous rampage wood chips and other debris thrown from the robot.

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Adding a lot of twinkle to this rebar sculpture

Blinky lights have a way of attracting attention and that’s exactly what the members of the Maui Makers hackerspace were shooting for. The sculpture above is the logo for the Source festival, a Burning Man inspired music gathering in the Aloha state. For this year’s festival they went crazy, installing twelve meters of RGB LED strip controlled by seven Arduino boards.

The goal was to make the twelve-foot tall sculpture into a lighted interactive showpiece. In addition to the LEDs it includes a microphone, capacitance sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, and a piezo speaker. There’s one Arduino to rule them all, with another Teensy controller to drive an LCD display in the control box, and five Teensy boards to address the LED strips. They grabbed [Bill Porter’s] Easy Transfer library to facilitate communication between the microcontrollers (his libraries are becoming popular, we just saw his mp3 shield library used in another project on Tuesday).

The code which drives the LED animations is based on some Adafruit examples. We really enjoy the waving flag effect seen in the clip after the break.

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Create and Conflagrate giant modeled sculptures with Kinect and CNC

Summer has hit, and with it a bunch of crazy people going to crazy festivals and (often) burning crazy sculptures to crazy music! In that vein [Matthew Goodman] recently got involved in the burning flipside community down in Texas for his first big effigy build.  The project called for a gigantic archway flanked by two human shaped figures, since he had been working in Kinect [Matt] decided to try his hand at physically modeling the figures from Kinect mesh data.

After co-registering the depth and image cameras, setting up a capture routine to record, getting  .ply based meshes from the depth camera, and making a keypoint detector [Matt] was ready to start getting real world data from the Kinect. Armed with a ghetto steadycam built from his local Austin Hackerspace‘s spare parts bin, [Matt] proceeded to collect three 1.5 gigabyte scans of the charming [KT], who served as a model for the sculpture.

Once the meshes were imported to sketchup they could be merged and smoothed into a coherent form. The figure was split into CNC-able parts (known as the “lady bits” by [Matt] and his crew) and sent to local makers [Dave Umlas] and [Marrilee Ratcliff]’s ShopBot CNC mill. The 400 some odd bits of wood were then carted to flipside, methodically set up, and promptly set aflame the end of the event.

We have seen a couple of really interesting burning man projects, but this is possibly the shortest lived end result. Stay tuned this summer for more insane Black Rock City bound creations as well. Also don’t forget to check out [Matt]’s site for more details.

Recycled Sound – An Art Installation Not Lacking Arduinos

[oakkar7] wrote in to show us [Ben Johansen] and [Jonathan Snow]’s  interactive art installation, Recycled Sound(Website has a virus). The exhibit will premiere  in the TWU Arts Triangle Walking Tour March 25th from 5-7pm.

Currently a work in progress, the final plan is for the outdoor installation to feature a podium in the center with a rotating top, and various islands surrounding. As the podium’s top is rotated the surrounding islands come to life with a variety of light and sound displays which vary depending on how the podium is turned. While the electronics are not recycled, the actual sculptures and music making elements themselves consist of scrap yard parts and factory waste.

The whole display runs off of 12.. yes TWELVE Atmel 328s with Arduino boot loaders! The center podium houses a transmitting circuit consisting of two atmega 328s with Arduino boot loaders sharing a crystal, an hmc 6532 magnetometer breakout board and two RF transmitters.  The Islands each contain a receiving module with, obviously,  an Arduino and RF receiver. The receiving Arduinos connect to opto isolated switching modules for motors and lighting. Check out [Ben]’s blog for in progress shots, code, and build information.

If you are looking to control some 12V motors/lights with your 5V Arduino be sure to check out the pictures in the blog. While we here at Hackaday may be quick to jump into soldering [Ben] follows the proper development progression to the letter. Each aspect is bread boarded, then refined, then transferred to a soldered perf board.

update: His site has some kind of malware going on. None of us noticed it in Firefox, but after complaints we fired up ol IE. Yup, nastyness there. You can go there at the following link if you dare.

More after the jump:

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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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