Soft Robots

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before, but Matthew Borgatti, over at 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.)

Research: Jean Painlevé

A friend of mine introduced me to some new work to research, Jean Painlevé.  Jean Painlevé (1902-1989) was a film maker, who made documentaries, the animal documentaries being of particular interest to me.  On first glance, he seems to have enjoyed cropping the scene really closely around the animal (or parts of the animal), which creates a kind of magic and implied personality.

Although the films are in French (and so I don’t understand all the nuance, unfortunately), he seems to have a subtle sense of humour in the narrative, which is especially evident in this line from “The Love Life of the Octopus”:

“There’s no officially sanctioned position for doing that.”

From the Wikipedia article (which must always be taken with some amount of salt): “Advocating the credo ‘science is fiction,’ Painlevé managed to scandalize both the scientific and the cinematographic world with a cinema designed to entertain as well as edify. He portrayed sea horses, vampire bats, skeleton shrimps, and fanworms as endowed with human traits — the erotic, the comical, and the savage. Painlevé single-handedly established a unique kind of cinema, the ‘scientific-poetic cinema’.”

This is the stuff I miss most from school- the sometimes off-hand suggestions from other people, constant conversation, and eyes other than my own.

I need to watch more, I think!

(Be sure to also check out Isabella Rosselini, who I mention in this post, Green Porno.)