Production of the robots was a process of first working on 3D models to previsualize the work while simultaneously writing about my ideas concerning our coevolution of humans and intelligent hardware. I have an ongoing research agenda to look at how technology is changing our social relations, how we treat each other and robots as well how we are now symbiotically intertwined with technology in the suvival and humans in our now fully developed technotope.
When the work was selected by Dmitry Bulatov for inclusion in the Science as Suspense exhibition, I went to work researching cameras that would have the capability for facial recognition. I found the perfect camera called the Sony W-150 that featured a chip set that was based on neurmorphic engineering principles as defined by Carver Mead. Neuromorhic engineering is using biological models and processes for inspiration and repliction in technological prototypes. Carver Mead owner of Foveon is know internationally for creating some of the first microchip artificial eyes with foveated vision.
The process of production involved translating the 3D models into Adobe Illustrator files for laser cutting. Amy Youngs did this translation for all the 3D models into Autocad DWG files in preparation for taking them to Laser Reproductions in Columbus Ohio.This process of laser cutting the parts, testing the parts and making modifications was very effective in speeding the process of development of the robots.
When the robot base was finished it was time to integrate the first microprocessor brains and sensors into the first functiong base. The base features some new wheel sets from Parallax Inc, as well as Sharp sensors from Acroname Inc.
The main holder of the camera and many of the sensors were modified tripod bases. With a short turnaround on this project Amy was an amazing assistant in construction and modification of many of the parts.
Once the head (camera) mount was laser cut and tested it was time to integrate the whole system with the programming to give the robots the ability to autonomously navigate and avoid walls and humans. These works used a subsumption architecture again distributed at much intelligence to the farthest reaches of the system.
This software architecture developed at MIT by Rodney Brooks and team allows fast reactive and often parallel process to permit intelligent and responsive behaviors in unstructured invironments...such as when humans are moving and changing their positions.
If they see a human they initiate a photo sequence of 6 photos. The main flash unit of the camera is tied to slave flash units built by Canon to add light and bling to the work. I am very interested in the theatre of photography as well as the fact that now with digital photography we have a new democratic access to image making that is unprecedented in history. Sites like Flickr and YouTube have become intitution unto themselves.
The power subsystem is Powersonic 12 volt batteries 9Ah donated by Steve lee of Atbatt.com an international supplier of all sorts of batteries for robotics and consumer goods.