The Reading Robot
In collaboration with Jenna Bickhardt.
2019, Core Studio and Lab 2: Spatial, Online x Offline x Real x Virtual
Robotic Misb Kit, Video and Documentation booklet
Knowing our limitations with the Robotic Misb Kit, we
chose to pursue ideas of a simplistic nature. Uncomplicated
movements and actions should take center stage in our project.
Thinking in this direction, we started to explore the possibilities
of using robotic behavior to mimic human manoeuvre. At one
point, we considered the action of reading. The irony of a robot
reading seemed powerful to us. By completing a task as basic
as turning pages in a book the technology is doing something
associated to our unique physical and mental capabilities as
civilization. It further suggests the idea of pursuing knowledge
in the Information Age of today. The action of reading is in many
aspects interesting, as it supports the development of the mind
and generates the evolution of mankind.
For this installation, we used a series of the Robotic Misb Kit, velcro parts, two motors, and two hangers. The hangers needed to be at an angle where they can comfortably grab the page and a distance from each other that allows interaction among the two parts. The book also needed to be put on a bookstand at an angle that was functional for the “reading”. The Reading Robot is divided into three scenes. In the first scene, the robot was human- controlled by two separate individuals. In the second, the movements were pre-recorded and then played. In the third and last, the movements of the robot was set to randomized. The first two scene showed similar patterns of movements. However, the last showed slow motion, which in a sense represented the reading process more. These different scenes suggest different methods the robot takes in reading the book. Moreover, its misbehavior and disobedience puts forward the stance of the robot being a creature of the indefinite. Every movement that it makes, the effects that it causes, are not definit, they are unpredictable.