Oribotics [network]

January 4, 2007 on 1:23 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments

The next evolution of Oribotics will be oribotics [network]. Supported by Arts Victoria’s arts innovation fund. The work will premiere at Federation Square in Melbourne in October 2007. The work will consist of a new generation of folding robots that each have built in wifi and bluetooth networking.

The core project team is Matthew Gardiner and Ray Gardiner, the team that delivered the earlier two versions. We are extending the team in the production stage with an industrial design/fabrication company. I met the guys at Design Sense when working on Phillip Adam’s Origami work. They fabricated several large scale folding sets from small prototype designs, and so on that basis Design Sense will work on refining the design of the prototype robots to the final polished products.

Our project partners are Federation Square who are providing:
Studio space for the development of the work
Exhibition space in the Atrium

Aphids are auspicing the project, encompassing project and financial management, as well general support and assistance in securing additional funding or support from other arts bodies. All round good guys!

Prototype flower

October 13, 2005 on 6:28 pm | In Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Here is some video for the prototype flower [7.7MB], and an animation showing the lever design for the November showing of oribotics.

Ars Electronica

September 2, 2005 on 5:01 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Ars has been running for 2 days now. Its fantastic, the mood here is really positive with so much good work. This is just a short note to post this url of me and some other things on an Austrian radio website.


Almost over…

August 14, 2005 on 8:17 pm | In Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Well its Monday morning of the last week here in Tokyo. The time has really flown by. It seems so fast, and it seems like only yesterday I was sitting this same seat thinking about how to recreate the oribotics mechanism. Now I’m packing everything up to send back in the post (we have very limited baggage allowances with British Airways!).

This week the Tanteidan Origami Convention starts. I have been asked to deliver a talk about our Origami House project. The catch is that they asked me to deliver it in Japanese!? I’ve got to say I’m a bit nervous about that, but with the stern advice from Mr Yamaguchi, I’ve written out my entire speech, translated it, and now I’m sending it to Koshiro Hatori to correct. I’ve got a good collection of timelapse videos, photographs to go with the talk so I’m thinking it should be quite entertaining. I’ve given talks and speeches before, but usually in my native language. It’s a great chance for me.

After the convention, there is a 3 day tour including to Aichi Banpaku (Expo). This is usually a great time to relax and make better friends with the other international folders.

From there we still have 5 days or so in Japan, we are going to spend them at Kujukurihama beach in Chiba, staying with two Japanese artists, Akio Hizume, and Tomoko Ninomiya. It’s a chance to wind down after 11-12 weeks in the most populated area on the planet. I’m looking forward to that time, while Tokyo is great, I do find it a little bit tiring after a while, and we need nature after so much metal and concrete. Kind of ironic for an artist interested in making robotic flowers…

Then I’m off to Austria to see Ars Electronica, and I’m really excited about seeing Theo Jansen’s work.

Ball Magnet part sponsorship deal with Magna Tokyo

August 9, 2005 on 12:50 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments

As part of the new bot design, I was looking for a free rotating mechanism, so that the bots can have a nice range of positionable movement between the base of the flower and the top of the stem. I found something pretty cool here in Tokyo, and I visited the company and got some samples. After some discussion with the sales department, they have kindly offered a part sponsorship deal on an order of 40 units.

Check out the product, it’s a ball magnet that can hold up to 5kg. The bots won’t weigh over 2kg. So it should work really well.


Thanks Magna

New 5bot crease pattern

August 7, 2005 on 11:23 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Well, the past 2 weeks have been quite productive (so I have been busy working not blogging!). This time has produced some breakthroughs, which are quite significant for this residency. The first is a new crease pattern for the 5bot (5 bot is so called because its extremelly short and easy to type and it also describes the number of petals, and the degree of rotational symmetry).

The development of the new crease pattern evolved from experiment 1 to 4:

5bot Crease Pattern Development

5bot Crease Pattern5bot Crease Pattern

With the final choice being #4 due to its aesthetic appeal, and foldability; it looks good and works well.

The key difference is that the closed form has a raised pentagonal pyramid in the centre. This pyramid actually reduced the angle that the petals fold, therefore using less force. The model is not rigid, there is curvature in the model, which occurs mostly in the outer petals. Not being rigid does require increased force at the turning point (the point which creates the most tension in the model).

The advantage of the raised pyramid is 2 fold (^_^).

The second breakthrough came after an extensive study of the new crease pattern. Late at night I had a creative drive, I couldnt sleep from too many ideas and thoughts. And while in this state I saw a vision of the working mechanism. I immediately woke up and sketched down the rough ideas. The day after I went to Tokyu hands and bought all the materials I needed and on return built a protoype crease pattern and mechanism to test the idea. While I have yet to build a fully working model - I am in the middle of working on a 3D model which can be built on return to Australia.


If you can excuse the quality of the video, you can get an idea of the quality and simplicity of the movement created by this mechanism. It’s beautiful, and it also means the design of the flower like, as the extended arms which ‘pulled on the petals are no longer required, instead, a mechanism with strings and pulleys actuate the levers (see the 3D image below) and are repositioned by tensioned springs. It could also be done with motors, but the simplicity of a single motor contracting 5 strings (or wires) is far easier to control. Also I intuit that the springs will create a nice tension for the strings to pull against, meaning the motion will be extremely smooth. I’m looking forward to coming back home and making these new ones.

Here is an image of the 3D model at the moment

Here is a QUICKTIME VR model [925K]

Electro Luminescent

July 31, 2005 on 11:50 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments

I visited the Institute for Future Design, and met with Azby Brown, a lecturer at Kanazawa University. He runs a studio in Harajuku which is sponsored by the university. While there he suggested I look at EL as a means for replacing the projected light in oribotics, so the flowers are self luminescent.

So we called a local Japanese company, and arranged a visit to the office. When I arrived it was a home office. I saw some interesting sheets of EL, which work best in greenish colour, white is apparently very difficult and so very expensive. Tomoyo san, who I met, was very kind and explained the techniques to me. Explaining how I would have to use the material to get my desired effect. I have to say I wasnt strongly convinced of the applicability of EL material to my vision. To light a full oribot, you need a bulky, expensive power supply. It seemed better applied to signage.

It was good to remove that idea from the list, and it confirmed my love for the projected light, and the way I imagine it creating the interaction.

Theo Jansen

June 9, 2005 on 3:26 am | In Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I was told by an interested audience member after one of my talks in Amsterdam about the work of this man. Truly extraordinary! It is close in theme and principle to that of oribotics, but on a grand animalithic scale.

In particular see the video text and images on this page:

Tanteidan Monthly Meeting June

June 4, 2005 on 10:25 am | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Origami Tanteidan meets every month. Tanteidan means investigate, or investigators, and the icon for Tanteidan is a magnifying glass aka Sherlock Holmes. The Japanese Origami Academic Society or JOAS runs the meetings and also the yearly convention in Tokyo. The network of conventions extends beyond Tokyo, in the Kansai region, Shizuoka region are yearly events also, though the Tokyo one is by far the largest.

Spot the aussie

Anyway… I went to the June meeting today…

First day awake in Tokyo

June 1, 2005 on 8:06 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Woke today at 4am to find the sun rising, and the local park closed until 9am, so I jumped the fence and practiced my tai chi anyway (it seemed relatively harmless - and I reasoned that the times were probably only there to keep homeless people from building tents there).

mY Trinh and I went to Ginza, to the Apple store to buy an Airport Express - tiny very handy wireless network is now in our tiny very handy apartment. We checked out the sony store, and played with the undeniably cute AIBO - the 6th generation is very interesting. We walked to ITO-YA so mY could get her sketch books and pencils for her animation. Then Tokyo showed me its reasoning for redunancy and consumerism. They make a prepaid phone with a built in SIM card. If the card expires the phone becomes useless and you have to buy another. To learn this I was given alot of help by a non english speaking Japanese service attendant at Yodabashi Camera in Shinjuku. Now I have to find out who will help me get another phone. They are a necessity here.

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