E-MA 1 Is a walking robot operated through finger movement. In principle it is a electronic puppet on a string, wich uses electricity instead of strings to transfer the movement of the fingers to the movements of the limbs. It walks with its front legs it drags its back along, reminding of the first creatures which came on land. Thereby getting its name E(evolution) MA(machine).


The first version I built out of a large piece of wood, two rolls and the same leg mechanics I used for the final robot. The initial Idea was to have a walking platform wich could support a person, which was maybe a bit too ambitious. Wiper motors are quite strong, but also not that strong.


Because even the wood platform turned out to be too heavy for the robot to walk properly, I replaced it with a Aluminum piece. The small back wheels I changed to some heavy-duty aluminum wheels. I also added a battery for the robot to be able to walk around freely and a reptile-like head to make it look creepy.



The mechanism is as simple as can be: The legs are made from a single metal rod which is mounted to motor A wich moves them in the X axis, motor A is mounted to motor B which moves the whole thing in the Y axis.

Each switch on the glove controller closes the circuit of each motor in different polarities, thereby spinning them in either direction. The Switches are placed on the top of the Hand and connected with a piece of wire to a finger ring. By moving the fingers in certain sequences the robot can walk in all directions, although it is rather tricky to control it in the beginning. Learning to control the Robot`s walk is similar to learning to play the piano, while barely being able to move further in the beginning, the sequences of the movements are soon memorized motorically. With more practice the robot moves more fluently and faster.

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The overall experience of the workshop was very positive. It was a inspiring in a lot of ways: By the beautiful surrounding of the Harbour, improvising with all the materials found in the workshop, the availability of the right tool for just about any job (wich I personally find way more inspiring than not having them) and the concentrated atmosphere with everyone being busy with their own contraptions. I was pretty surprised that we could use just about anything in the workshop, and specially that we could take our creations home, I was getting bit emotional thinking I would have to dismantle my creature I just brought to life, but E-MA1 lives happily ever after.

Seaman’s Yarn

The motivation to build an artefact that floats on the water during the Robotics Workshop was given by Time’s Up location in the harbor of Linz—or more precisely in the harbor basin. Time’s Up kitchen shows various pictures of a nautical nature and a look out of the workshop shows the not sunken part of a wrecked ship—the connotation of mysterious tale’s only a seaman would tell you is always present.


«Seaman’s Yarn» is an expression that exists in german, as well (Seemannsgarn), and is still in use in northern Germany. A comprehensive definition/explanation can be found here. The project tries to manifest in a very abstract way the idea of somebody—or something—that «sets sail» and is off to the sea and tells us its stories when back in the harbor.

The first part was the construction of a buoy that would carry the documenting, creating part of the installation. With the need of movement followed the construction of a Savonius-Rotor on top of it, inspired by the already existing one in front of the workshop and by the connotation of sailing that comes up with something catching the wind. The rotation moves a pen over the postcard that will tell us later about the adventures at sea.


Special thanks to Micha Dienst who was a great help in this project—specially with the construction and explanation of the principle of the Savonius-Rotor.

The postcard—the Seaman’s Yarn—of the very first and only journey:

Seaman’s Yarn—created during Robotics Workshop at Laboratory “Time’s Up”, Linz


The Robotics workshop was used to explore an idea about basic moving geometries. The attempt was to create a triangle driven by linear motors to have a protototype for a triangular face, like in 3d animation, consisting of three vertices and three edges. Regarding to the moving vertices the “edges” must be able to change their length by sliders. The basic structure was realized with according slides attached to the linear motors. The idea was to have a prototype for a dynamic structure to project on, covered by a stretchable fabric. Due to the circumstances I built a switch logic for the two motors hidden in a small remote box. With the addition of a mirror triangle replacing the fabric, that is floating in the middle of the triangle with the help of elastic rubberbands attached to the vertices, the structure was turning into a projector itself. So the final installation became a remote controlled sunbeam projector.


Further steps could have been to look for and add a third linear motor to enable 3dimensional movement with. All in all it was great to have access to all these tools and get hands on all available tools, also learning a lot while building something that was only in your head before.




Floating machine III Revenge of the sailor

Today i have tried to figure out what was the problem of the floating machine.

I have tried to make a better transmission to don’t waste too much energy in useless movement  and also i change the position of the motor to allow the fin to have a more wide oscillation.


Unfortunatly all this shrewdness wasn’t useful, the floating still have this static presence in the water.

In the last 30 minute before the presentation of the project i changed the material of the fin with something more rigid , but also that didn’t make any improovment.


The time fly when you have fun in Time’s up workshop and so i wasn’t able to make more try.


Nice experience

Floating Machine II the retourn of the sailor

As yuo can see in the photo below the machine it’s floating!


To achieve to this goal i have followed this steps :

First i have found the right motor and undestand where locate itIMG_20160615_114109

luckily i have found that nice engine that had already on it the right arm to move properly the oar



after fixed the motor the next step was built a performative fin, the idea for that was to make a frame made of metal and use a plastic bag here some photo of the step :

IMG_20160615_115200 IMG_20160615_121019 IMG_20160615_122526 IMG_20160615_151645


now the last step it’s to check if can  also moove not only floating


has you can see there is some problem with the movement, it’s not very efficent.


This is something that i wil try to fix tomorrow

Bicycle-mounted music box turned music-box-in-a-barrel turned analog drum machine turned noise machine

As the title suggests, the plans for this project changed quite often. The only thing that did not change was my decision to have a purely mechanical driving force with no electricity required.

The bicycle-mounted music box plan and its demise

No bike. It turned out the old bike I wanted to use was gone. So before the workshop started I had to revise my idea of a bicycle-mounted music machine to an inverted music box in an oil barrel.

The oil barrel music box plan…

The cylinder (2 in the picture) would be inverted, that the pins turn inwards. The comb teeth (3) would then have been mounted inside of the barrel (see crude sketch)

1280px-music_box_elementsSource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_box


…and its demise

It ain’t easy finding things that sound nice. On the first day of the workshop I started with the comb teeth part of the oil barrel music machine. I tried one steel bar of approx. 2 mm thickness – too stiff.

teethThe steel bar sounded as dull as this photo is blurry.

I tried to cut up a piece of sheet steel – too loose. After lunch I decided not to pursue the idea of having a nice sounding melodic instrument anymore.

The final plan – a drum machine / sequencer

I had to act fast to have at least something to show at the end of the day. So I inverted the inverted music box and made it a a drum machine. The thing I wanted from the drum machine: it should be programmable and make 4 different sounds: bass drum, snare, hi-hat and cymbal. I started working on a cylinder that would act as the sequencer part. I found a nice steel tube with a ~20 cm diameter and cut it to a length of ~40 cm. This piece of steel tube was the one part I had to show at the end of day 1.

Day 2 – Drilling, thread cutting, welding

My plan was to be able to trigger four different “drum sounds” with a resolution of 8 steps. So I had to drill 4 times 8 holes around the circumference of the tube. Tim came up with an easy to use and quite precise measuring tool to help me with this task: a piece of paper. We cut the paper strip to the length of the tubes diameter, folded it to have 8 subdivisions, unfolded it and wrapped it around the tube.

cylinder-1After marking all the 32 holes, I used a hand drill with a 4.5 mm tip to drill the holes for the M6 thread. I used 4.5 mm tip because of my slightly wobbly drilling style. Before cutting the threads I “cleaned” the holes with a 5 mm tip. After cutting all the threads by hand, which happened to be a very meditative exercise, day 2 was almost over. I welded 2 small steel bars on each end of the tube so that I could mount it on day 3.

Day 3 – Finding the center of a circle and things that go bang

Applied geometry! I probably learned in school how to find the center of a circle, but when it came to drilling a hole into the steel bars I welded onto the tube in the almost exact center, I had to ask Tim to share some Pythagorean magic with me. It only took a right angle and tools to make marks. Here’s a sketch of the process:


Brilliant! After a little bit more welding, the sequencer part was almost done and fixed to a wooden board. The presentation at the end of day 3 came closer and closer and I again had the task to find things that sound nice. I wouldn’t say that I failed… But things did not turn out as I expected…

People had fun playing with it, I had fun building it and no hard feelings when I sacrificed it to the scrap metal gods after the presentation.

herby the dirty birdy and the terrorist


well, since it was the last day of our workshop and i was pretty fed up with fishes and plastic bottles i decided to stop messing around and get down to the manly stuff like explosive prohibited chemicals and bomb crafting.

i also dropped the water/fish designs because they didn’t deserve further attention due to their unwillingness to work. instead, i invented an “in-theory-airborne” bird design named “herby the dirty birdy” which i wanted propel with some real man`s hand cooked partly illegal rocket fuel like so:

so made a little sketcho of the bird i wanted to build and went to the construction market to get the most necessary parts and to think about how to get my handy on some Kno3 (Kaliumnitrate) chemicals which are illegal to handout to civilians without a license in austria (which OF COURSE i didn’t know).

so i called about 5 different pharmacies all around linz until i was lucky to get an inexperienced pharmacy trainee on the phone (which OF COURSE i also didnt know) who was glad to help me out and ordered 200g of the precious chemicals for me. my luck ended though when i tried to pick the stuff up there personally and ran into the very well experienced head of the pharmacy who turned out to be very uncooperative in terms of handing out illegal chemicals to people who had no license. but she made a mistake..

in the beginning of our discussion she said that “in her interpretation” she wasnt allowed to hand out the substances to me, which i turned into the argument that i dont order something and drive around the whole city with my bike in order to not get something because of someones “interpretation” and that she has to be sure and has to show me the proof of her “being sure” in order for me to leave and stop annoy her to death shortly before she was about to be on her way home on a sunny friday afternoon. well, after fighting to read through a bunch of law texts on her computer which were not very precise in terms of arguments and agreeing on writing down my identity and report it to some officials we agreed that i could take the substances home in exchange for officially being flagged as a terrorist in some states computer files (no im not paranoid at all).

time to start cooking!

so i cooked the stuff following safety procedures as tightly as i could and stuck it to the butt of the dirty birdy in order to defy the laws of state and physics hoping that it would at least end up in a firery explosion rahter than maybe also move up in the air or do something birdlike.

finally all my efforts and hopes where crushed in a glorious display of shame and pity as herby the dirty birdy burned down and died horribly in fire and smoke while in the water at the final demonstration.

so i would say the workshop was quite a success!
would do again :).

ahoi and thanks for all the fish. it was a great time!

jumpingfish / exploding chemicals 2

well, to sum it up, the second day wasn’t as productive as i wished in terms of crafty handworks, besides the cooking of course. i was mostly trying different approaches to generate thrust with mixing and interfering with mostly “household chemicals”. but since the civil versions of these (backing soda aka nitron and white vinegar) were not very effective in what they should do i decided to consult a chemist for some better “solutions”.

basically if you add backing soda (nitron) to white vinegar a chemical reaction should begin which generates a lot of co2. if you do that in a closed plastic bottle you generate a lot of pressure which you then can use as a partial thrust if you poke a hole or 2 into the right places.

the main issue with this method is that the thrust is created very rapidly and strong and dissipates just as fast again. this makes is not a very effective method to generate constant thrust.

so anyway i got some higher concentrated nitron at the pharmacy (hope dies last) and kept on trying to find any good solution to propel my fishtorpedo. unfortunately nothing worked as hoped and in my time of desperation i unfortunately also forgot to take any pictures of this day. both things that should change the following day, which was the last one of our workshop experience. read on in the next chapter!

Magnetic Pinball(day 3)

After all my tries tiding and untiding the copper around for two days, last one was dedicated more to make a playful device in which a lot of expectations were involved. There was a vague idea of what could be a coordination game in which tehoretically two persons could make levitate a neodymium magnet ball and be astonished by this effect. This could have theoretically happen if all coils could work at the same time or at least work continuosly. I had several problems to make things work with the coils, first of all because I didnt know how much sensitive was the isolation around and in that sense I didnt take care to drag them agains the floor, I didnt know it could happen so easy and were so sensitive to have some sections exposed due to be recycled material, and also most of the problems became when in this third day I had to fix the coils to an structure to make the distribution to play with them.

But problems aside, I had a very funny time learning about electromagnets, and I guess still was playing a lot the device even if it was only with the expectatives, was kind of “magic” to move things without touching.

I guess still there is a lot more work on the way, but was a great expeience.13461075_10209764738212792_1893342150_o

Day III: Earthworm + motor + movement

For the final class I decided to assemble the final part of the worm to the rollers. In order to let the whole structure move forward, i located the two motors inside of a wooden cube.

With the help of Michael, we changed the hitters from the motors and we simplified them. After this, I had to connect the backside with the motors to the rest, and Tim suggested to use some thread, in order to avoid that some parts might remain still and fixed.


In the end, the worm looked like this, and it was able to move the rolls (more or less) after being hit and move forward (if it did not get stuck before). It was actually very challenging for me finishing it in 3 days, and getting to know the materials and all the possibilities. Sometimes it was not so easy to decide which one was the better solution for some of the issues, because I didn’t have much experience with making robots (or pseudo-robots) before.