This semester I have the great fortune of being enrolled in Jason Kelly Johnson's (co-founder of Future Cities Lab) Creative Architecture Machines advanced options studio here at CCA. Co-taught with Michael Shiloh, a community manager with Arduino, this studio's focus is on operational architecture through robotics. The first three weeks was concentrated on engineering a machine that produces two-dimensional drawings. After a couple weeks of testing and Arduino workshops my partner Jia Wu and I had five days to design, prototype, wire, code, and build a working robot.
Our idea: Polydexter 1.0, a remote human sensing Arduino-controlled robotic translation arm. Utilizing three axes of control, the movement you put into the analog arm is augmented by the digital arm to produce a drawing by remote. We extrapolated a lot of possible uses: teaching people to write in different languages, translating/editing/censoring your written messages between countries, or, if scaled up, even translating a stroke of your hand into built space using precision brick laying or material extrusion. But more than any of that, it was a lot of fun to play with. I was pretty apprehensive before joining this studio about how difficult electronics would be but we progressed exponentially in terms of robot making in the last few weeks. The next phase for us is to move to three-dimensional output so we will keep you updated. For now, please enjoy the robot movie teaser we produced for the project, we think it encapsulates the spirit of Polydexter really well!