Art & Architecture

This page describes projects and work I’ve done with various clients in the art and architecture world

SADbot: the Seasonally Affected Drawing robot

for and installed in the window gallery at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in Chelsea, NYC, in partnership with Ben Leduc-Mills (with funding through Kickstarter). It uses two 18.5” x 13” solar panels to power two stepper motors which allow the control of a pen in two dimensions. SADbot takes input from people walking outside the gallery window through a set of sensors (photocells) up against the inside of the window that can tell how much light they’re getting. SADbot knows if someone is covering up one of the sensors, and will change from random drawing to drawing towards the covered sensor. Full documentation is included in: Making Things Move: DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists

Whitney Museum: Storm Your Brain

Aki Sasamoto, a Whitney Biennial artist and co-director of Culture Push, ran two events at which I got to show people how to make and race mousetrap powered cars. The first was a DOING workshop where I taught a small group of 10 professionals from other fields. The second was a larger scale public event with 100 people called Storm Your Brain, held at the Whitney Museum as part of the Biennial. I created about 60 simple kits and watched as participants from all walks of life put them together for the big race.

Chipotle Furniture

While working with Kammetal I modeled designs for another iteration of their furniture for the Chipotle chain of restaurants. I translated the architect’s hand sketches and AutoCAD drawings into 3D models of tables, stools, and light fixtures. The raw materials were sourced locally, then shaped, bent, and cut in Kammetal’s shop according to my fabrication and assembly drawings. These pieces were installed in the Chipotle just around the corner from my apartment in November of 2009.

New Museum: Urs Fischer Exhibit

Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty was on exhibit at the New Museum from 10/21/09 – 2/7/10. Among many works of art is a tongue that sticks out of a hole in the wall when a visitor walks past. I worked with Kammetal to redo part of the existing mechanism and detail a control system that uses a PLC (programmable logic controller) to activate a solenoid when someone gets close to the sensor. A big thanks to the staff at Automation Direct for their help detailing the components that we needed.

Mobile Solar Charging Station

My good friend and industrial designer extraordinaire, Elliott Montgomery, came up with a design for a mobile solar charging unit for Solar One in the summer of 2009. He asked me to help turn the concept into a reality, and together we detailed his original Solidworks design, fabricated parts, and assembled 2 working units. They were first used by DJ Trent for his program on WFMU. You can see Elliott’s original rendering here, and see for yourself how close the final products match the concept.

Battle of the Geeks

In May of 2006 I got to travel to Namibia, Africa, to film a pilot for the show Battle of the Geeks – a BBC/Open University co-production. We had 48 hours to figure out a way to get an egg across the 2nd largest canyon in the world to an X on the other side. My team built a rocket and won by default, since the other team’s egg floated backwards after it was gently released from their glider. Camping on the edge of the canyon we flew into by helicopter was pretty amazing. It aired in the UK, but not in the US. However, my friend Jeff Feddersen helped me organize a screening of the pilot at Habana Outpost here in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the show was not picked up – something about being too expensive to produce.

Moscone Center Installation

While with Honeybee Robotics, I acted as the lead technical consultant to evaluate the malfunction of the large projection screen mounted on a track on the outside of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The screen was designed to follow a track along 2 sides of the building, but was causing vibrations in the structure so was decommisioned as a moving display. Through stepped observation and testing, I was able to determine where and how the system was overconstrained and provide solutions on how to fix the existing structure to eliminate the problems.

Inside Out Life Story

IOLS was a project initiated by Robot Clothes, a partnership between James Powderly and Michelle Kempner, and completed during their 2005 artist in residency at Eyebeam in Manhattan. I was brought on as their biomechanics consultant. We wanted to make a Michellebot look like it was knitting as part of an animated story set. I designed a simple model where the shoulder axes of motion were tilted in towards the body, and crossed where the knitting needles crossed. The arms were tied to wires that, when activated by a cam, lifted the arms up. When the cam rotated some more, the arms fell back down under their own weight. The cam was continuously rotated on a simple DC motor, allowing for us to create an intermittent motion that mimicked the action of knitting through a simple, continuous input and no control electronics.