I saw this artist’s work at the Toronto Art Fair, but have rediscovered it more recently. I love the intricacy of these, as well as the way he uses simple mechanics to make them move and give them a bit of magic and personality.
See more at Tomhaney.com
Tom’s blog is also particularly great- shows a lot of in progress shots so that you can see how he works.
A reminder. Remember how to enjoy your own company.
I know I’ve posted something similar before, but I really needed to hear this again.
Here is the first semi-successful attempt at animating one of the Morphoids – Nephropoleon.
And a little about Nephropoleon. As you can see, the awkwardness is appropriate, but I am still debating whether or not I will attempt to make the movement more efficient. It could be more efficient, but right now, I’m not totally sure it’s worth the effort. The nice thing about working with Nephropoleon (and Arduino, actually), is that I have more than one, so could make a second version without destroying this one. Arduinos are infinitely re-programmable, so I can tweak as much as I need, and re-use the ones I no longer need for another morphoid, or another project.
This particular part of the project has taken me some considerable effort, even though it may not look like it. I needed to figure out how to build a sufficient structure to hold the mechanical parts so that they would work the best they can. I had to figure out how to program the Arduino to control the servos to move as they should, in the range and timing that they should, and how to get it to pause the program when there is not enough light- as in, when someone approaches the morphoid. (This is not evident in the video, but it’s an important part of the project.) Also, how to deal with seemingly simple things, such as how to turn the power on and battery changes. It is important that there’s not an obvious opening on the outside, so I’ve actually sewn the battery packs right inside, and needed to come up with a way to have access to the power switch (and be able to find it!) without it being really obvious from the outside. Also, a big challenge with these is the fact that they’re stuffed- the stuffing interferes with the mechanics on the inside- the resistance is enough to overpower the servos. I had to rig up a few different ‘guards’ to keep stuffing away from places it might cause problems. I also went through a couple of days of frustration when I kept having a problem where one of the servos wouldn’t work- trying everything, replacing hardware, reprogramming, redoing the circuit, etc. All the components seemed good, and nothing helped. I only got past it when I started over from scratch, although I still have no idea what the problem was, so hopefully it doesn’t return.
I am learning a lot.
I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before, but Matthew Borgatti, over at Har.ms has been working on making soft robots. I wish I had the facilities to look into doing something like this for the Animatronics Project, but I think even if I could, the components would take up way too much room to fit inside a Morphoid, even a large one. A girl can dream.
I am making slow progress in my own way, hopefully I’ll have something to post about that soon. (Essentially right now I’ve got parts of things, mechanics and code, all in pieces all over the place, but not lined up and working properly yet. I’ll share when I’ve got something that will be easy to see what I’m doing, rather than all this research and pieces of things and code that probably looks like gibberish to most people.)
Journal 30: This Side Up (Side Down)
Journal 34: The Other Side of Fear
And just for a giggle…. Kermit on Strombo!