Oribotics [AEC] interaction design

May 26, 2010 on 10:44 am | In Oribotics | Comments Off

The following two diagrams explain the interaction concept that I am developing for the installation at the Ars Electronica Festival. The basic concept is “as above so below“, micro interactions with an individual flower have ripple effects out to the macro of the installation.

Intuitive interaction

Through observation over years, the most common interaction gesture, in both children and adults, is to move a hand in front of the oribots “mouth”.

Micro Interaction

Hand push opens the flower
Hand pull closes the flower
(or vice versa)

 Oribotics 2010 interaction concept

Macro effect

Interacting with one oribot affects every other bot on the network – they are interconnected.


Interconnectivity, micro and macro interactions.
Each oribot is interconnected to the entire network of oribots. Interacting with one flower causes the entire bloom of oribots to actuate.  In one flower each of the 1050 folds are actuated by the push pull action of the servo. In a whole network of oribots, one interaction will actuate tens of thousands of folds. This will create a complex moving image. Combined with the RGB lighting in each bot, the installation will be visually arresting. In a simple mathematical sense, a single (micro) interactions, causes tens of thousands (macro) effects.


 Oribotics 2010 interaction concept




Oribotics [micro]

December 9, 2008 on 9:42 am | In Oribotics | Comments Off

  Oribot [micro] drawing

This project is an exploration into 3D printing. I’m using Shapeways.com for my printing. They have a good fast web service for 3D printing. Perfect for n00bs like myself as the forums are full of advice, the automated file system runs checks on your uploaded data an sends you back an email telling you what the problem is and where to find help to fix it. I must say just uploading a few files certainly teaches you something.

I modelled my [network] generation of oribots very small (32 x 32 x 43mm). The idea is to print the form as a complete assembly, including working live hinges. The completed model requires a bit of finishing to protect it from UV light, and to make the surfaces smoother, but overall a great way to build robots that might be very very difficult to make by hand.

Being an artist in this day and age is incredible. Visualisation and articulation are the keys in enabling work with collaborators, companies in the production of a work. You might be a painter but you buy your high quality paints, brushes and canvases from someone, at least there the communication is simpler, at least more refined by historical usage.  In technological works, or even non technological works, the artist, armed with their “idea” has to find the path between their vision and the available solutions. The incredible thing is the increased availability of information and complex services.

This image below shows the first prints I have produced. Unfortunately, I made an error in the model, and the hinges dont work, they fused during printing, but the overall, I’m impressed with its quality and strength.  I’ve requested that the shapeways production guys assess the live hinges in my model before printing this time. So hopefully in about a week I’ll have a new working model!

Oribot [micro] first prints

That’s an Australian 50cent coin, probably only useful as a reference if you are an Aussie, a ruler is probably better internationally :) The small one on the right is 43mm high (about 1.7 inches). The image is darkened to enhance the white details.

Functioning prototypes from the 3D printer.

This video (apologies for the low production values) briefly explains and shows the two sets of prototypes that were produced. The second prototype had correct clearances of between 0.3 and 0.5mm for the functioning printed hinges. Although the hinge rods at 1mm in diameter are too small to be strong enough for production. I have decided it is a broken micro-oribot embryo, an expression of the fragility of this work.

Microbot prototype poster image

Micro Fold Mould

December 9, 2008 on 9:04 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | Comments Off

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time during my residency. The idea is to make a mould that can be used to press, or emboss, a crease pattern into a sheet of paper. The crease pattern I am using is possible to fold by hand, but requires many marks that affect the perfection of the folded form. I should note that any imperfection will soon result in a disfigured oribot. I consider this analogous to DNA folding. DNA proteins fold at an astonishingly fast pace, and one tiny error in the folding can result in serious disease in the life form. The same occurs with my oribotics, in that a small crease out of place will cause the damaged area to deteriorate more rapidly than an perfect area, like a disease, eventually requiring replacement (surgery) on the robot.

But I digress into conceptual artifacts… back to the point at hand.

The form I am visualising is in two parts. The two parts are mates to each other, where one side is indented, the opposite side is outdented. See image below. The final form will have the mountains and valley folds appropriately inverted. The modelling was difficult enough to get this form to work properly, but I have an idea about how to approach the mountain/valley modelling.

Micro Fold Mould

This picture is of a 3D model of a very tiny mould, the crease pattern (the embossing area) itself only measures 59 x 39 mm, meaning that some folds are only 2-3mm long (tiny stuff!).

I’ve contacted embossing companies, even micro-embossing companies, and I’m sure its possible, but the complications arise around the use of many tons of pressure and machinery required to do this. I think the ideal form is made from metal, and uses heat to imprint the creases onto a suitable material, in my case a paper thin synthetic material, or perhaps simply a very thin strong piece of paper.

Oribotics [de]

November 12, 2008 on 3:46 pm | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | Comments Off

I’m currently an artist in residence in Germany, in small village, living in a Künstlerdorf (translates directly artists-town). One of my projects here is to create a new oribot. I was inspired by a member of the public at ArtBots who reminded me of an idea I once had; to make an oribotic flower that has multiple levels within the blossom. So it seems pretty easy while thinking about it, glass of beer in hand. When you actually set about to make a 3d fractally recursive piece of moving art, then you have to take a few steps back and think about it a while.

Well I’ve only been thinking about this for the past few days. Its built on the oribotics [network] design.  The crease pattern is called WB75 (super name I know), from its 75% scale reduction in its modular waterbomb crease pattern. I’m still very much in love with the aesthetic qualities of the WB75, and I like the idea of extending the genus of this particular species.  See these videos (made with Blender) of my visualisations of the mechanics. The crease pattern isn’t there, I have not discovered a way to realistically fold the membrane in 3d software, but I have recently upped my skills in building these mechanical models, thanks to my attendance at the Blender conference in Amsterdam a few weeks back.

The colours are to help distinguish different parts, not an aesthetic choice.

oribotics [de] prototype
Oribotic [de] virtual prototype - full

oribotics [de] prototype
Oribotic [de] virtual prototype - detail 

digest programming brief

July 24, 2007 on 9:33 am | In Oribotics | No Comments


programmers brief- by matthew gardiner


To transform xml feeds into emotional states for the oribots.
Do this by gathering and storing xml data feeds, and subsequently digesting the data according to rules defined by keywords. The conceptual idea is that the oribots are feeding on information from the web. The digest program is actually ‘farming’ the information, and processing (digesting) the data into a suitable form for consumption by the oribot.

happy, sad, fear, surprise, angry, disgust, aversion, ambivalence +(more)

what is digestion?
Digestion is a process of analysing a body of text, collecting key words, and checking the emotional modifier (emo-mod) assigned to the keyword. The highest emo-mod value takes precedence and becomes the emotion for the article. To allow for a large peak in a single emo-mod value, there is a peak emotional response followed by an average response.

how often does digestion occur?
Digestion occurs at the soonest possible time after the collection of a new article for digestion from a feed. All feeds are periodically checked for new elements. The feed rate can be calculated over a period of time.

how are the emo-mods defined?
All keywords are assigned an emotion and a value modifier. Here is a comma separated list of examples: terrorist = fear + 10, baby = happy + 20, technology = envy + 3.

can emo-mods be changed?
Yes, the user interface on oribotics.net allows users to modify the emotion and modifier value for any keyword.


feeds - keep track of feeds: urls of feed, access times.
articles- table to download article into
words- dictionary of words assigned to emotions
emotions - emotions and values
bots - links bots to a SINGLE feed, and its emotion

 title (text)
 feedtype(text) - flavor of feed, atom, rss, rss2 etc…
 url (text)
 last access(date)
 frequency to access (in minutes) (int)
 articleID (int) - system id for article
 title (text)
 url (text)
 keywords (text)
 average-emo (emoID)
 datetime (date)
 modifier (int)
 timestamp (date time YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS)


Automated functions (php code)

1. harvester (called by cron job)
Read all feeds periodically, check for, and collect new articles, then pass new articles to digester. The shortbody is collected directly from the feed, and fullbody is collected from the article url in the feed.

2. digester (called by harvester or cron job)
Deals with new articles.
Read article body. Extract keywords, run emotional scan on keywords, and determine peak emotional state, and average emotional state. Add record of the state in the log.

User interactive functions (php & flash code)

user interaction
users can do the following:
0. view current emo-state for each robot
1. view the most recent digest that created the emo-state
2. see the list of keywords and emo-mods
3. click on a keyword to alter the emo-mod for words
4. add new words - make words keywords
5. add new feeds + including their personal blogs
6. alter the emotional associations for words and

user functions:
edit pages for the following:
sources -> feeds
words -> emotional associations > modifer values

when queried by a bot request, outputs an xml file of current states

history of emotional output states


interesting reading

good ideas
first taste peak - followed by deviation average tone of article
power - synchronisation - non chaotic - rms - as a measure of information
biorhythm - emotional physical intellectual

Prototype waterbomb flower

July 24, 2007 on 9:07 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

In this video you can see the prototype oribot, handmade mechanics, being actuated through the firgelli micro linear actuator.

VHB 9473

July 20, 2007 on 9:32 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

VHB 9473oh boy, I just got some super sticky tape from the US. Its called VHB (Very High Bond) tape made by 3M. Varieties of this tape is so strong its used in aircraft and buildings. Kind of amazing to think that sticky tape has become one of the strongest bonding agents. Well its not just sticky tape. Anyway I wrote to 3M and they advised me that the tape I need is the VHB 9473 tape, its 0.25mm thick, and is double sided and bonds aluminium, stainless steel, and plastics together. It takes a few days for the bond to acquire full strength. I can wait to try it out. Its kind of fun to think of doing away with screws in favour of this stuff!

I searched high and low for an Australian distributor of 3M tapes, talked to guys on the phone, only to find that I have to buy cartons to get a single roll, its too specialised and no one sells it by the roll, at least the VHB 9473… So I went to the US, and found CPC, rang through an order last Saturday morning, and it arrived today, very happy. I love making art, you get to try out so much cool stuff.

Folding Metal

July 9, 2007 on 10:05 pm | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

I’m modelling the current generation of oribots, and have prototyped a new design and am going to make the parts from aluminium with some folds.

Ok. so I haven’t folded much metal before, and while I was modelling with my favorite modeller blender I was struck by the idea that metal has a thickness that needs to be considered when folding! Of course it does! My modelling prior to this point was all about aesthetics not about accurate measurements for laser cutting.

I’m trying to determine where to mark the fold on the aluminium so that the outside edge of the fold ends up at a precise location. By outside edge I mean if you have a sheet of paper on the table, and you make a valley (concave) fold then the outside egde is the bottom side of the paper.

So how do you calculate the radius of a fold (or bend radius)??? Well thanks to this Sheet Metal Bending Calculator I found some answers, which I am yet to test…

The following are my illustrations to help educate my train of thought on the matter.

I’m going to use the following values calculated using the Sheet Metal Bending Calculator.

1mm Aluminium
bend radius 1.591mm
outer radius 2.566mm
length of fold 4.037mm
length before 90º outside egde of fold 2.566mm (same as outer radius)

Measurements for folding 1mm aluminum

2mm Aluminium
bend radius 5.132mm
outer radius 3.183mm
length of fold 8.061mm
length before 90º outside egde of fold 5.132mm (same as outer radius)

Measurements for folding 1mm aluminum

The geometry of leaf folding

May 24, 2007 on 6:42 pm | In Day to Day, References, Oribotics | No Comments

It’s amazing what you can find out there, here I am, an artist working with robotics and origami, working on a new oribotic design, thinking about leaves. I turn to research for inspiration, and I start to follow a trail from the 2nd Origami Art and Science conference proceedings. It’s Biruta Kresling. I get the strong feeling that she’s understood the lines of thought ahead of me and is seeking these ideas in nature for design inspiration.

Then googling Biruta Kresling’s work on analysing natural structures for inherant folding patterns and design I came across The geometry of unfolding tree leaves by H. Kobayashi and others. Biruta is one of those others.

The essay presents me with a picture, and I can immediately imagine a robotic leaf, and I say to myself - ‘That’s it!’

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