Author Archives: Shervin

The last state of the Wild Spring Bot

The corner of the plastic frame broke during changes and tests.

New legs were built from stronger metal rods (8mm in place of 4mm).

The angle of the legs are not OK and possibly should be changed.

The junction to the body:

The old legs should be taken apart and reurned to the pile of metal material.

Zen for the Robot

Zen is many things and meanwhile nothing (which is how Zen might define itself), but in an objective way, it can be defined as a kind of experimental wisdom which can be reach by means of meditation and direct, experiential encounters and practices with the world and the self.

But what does Zen mean for a robot or generally a machine? This question may sound irrelevant as the machine is considered soulless, not having a self. Meanwhile, questions about the relationship between achievements of Artificial Intelligence and the possibility of having a machine with character, emotions, and self might arise.

The project I’m planning to do is not going to pause on these theoretical questions and dilemmas. The methodology would be like this; short survey in Zen literature searching for description of a “Zen situation”, try to rebuild that situation in a machine. Some examples might come handy here:

  • “How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole?” (Koan)
  • “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” (Baba Ram Dass)
  • “As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself.” (Shunryu Suzuki)
  • “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday routine.” (Shunryu Suzuki)
  • “When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing.” (Anonymous)

One idea which came to my mind in the first place was building a machine which generates some kind of sound by its movements and meanwhile has a tendency to stop moving when there is a loud sound.

A crash course in E.A.T

“Experiments in Art and Technology” (Wikipedia) was an organization of artists, scientists, and engineering in late 60s and 70s which was possibly one of the first attempts to bring people from different fields together to make ‘experiments’ with art and technology.

The reason that I’m very interested in this group beside novelty of their activities in this specific time period, is their elaborated approach to team work in an interdisciplinary atmosphere. A short quotation from the founder of the organization – Billy Klüver – might help to clear this out:

If all the separate sections of a project are to be of the best quality, then they must develop independently. Interfacing of the various elements becomes the overriding problem and good communication between members of the project is necessary. This horizontal operating situation requires that each member of the group understand his responsibilities as well as his limitations. Complication arose when engineering and aesthetic considerations became confused: when engineers wanted to be artists, when accountants wanted to be engineers, or when artists were intimidated by engineering. The artist had to express his aesthetic criteria in order to determine the scale, and so that the engineer would be aware of the boundary conditions.

Although there is a distinct separation between who is an engineer and who is an artists is visible in this point of view which might not be valid anymore in our time, but I still find some of the points – like the technical limitations of the aesthetic – valid.

Following are some links to a few videos about the performances of E.A.T: