From Friday 30/11/12 - 3/12/12 I was asked to take part in a workshop at the University of applied Arts (Angewandte) in Vienna. The workshop was based around fabrication methods for the development of soft robotic actuators initially outlined by the Whitesides research group (Harvard). This particular method was the central focus for my research thesis on the AAC Adaptive Architecture and Computation MSc that I completed this year.
The aim of the workshop was to introduce new people to the field of soft robotics with a view to developing new perspectives.
In Particular subjects explored were:
- Fluid actuation as an
alternative to compressed air
The workshop itself was organised and hosted by The Liquid Things (2012) research project at the Angewandte, with additional contributions from Ruairi Glynn and Manuel Kretzer.
More info about the workshops and work done in this area can be seen here
When I was a student at the Slade I was working largely with abstracted form grammars as pictured above. Now that I am coming to the end of the MSc at the Bartlett, I’m thinking about how the Soft Robotic actuators that I have been working on could form some kind of addition to this, and in general how they could be integrated into creative practices elsewhere…
The main thing that I would hope to have come out of my work is that in looking at the problems regarding material tolerance and durability, I have suggested an alternative strategy that would enable a greater degree of ‘free play’ in designing the actuators. This has largely to do with scaling to some degree, but above that, an understanding of the aspect ratio of the internal network is key to success in my opinion. In lieu of a fully formed model of the behaviour (there isn’t one in existence) I think there is a place for soft robotics in the design context, but there are some fundamental principles that can really cause major problems, especially if they are to be integrated into a creative work flow. I hope that my work has gone some way towards overcoming these problems and will enable like minded thinkers to get involved in this field.
For more info: http://benhaworth.tumblr.com/
A Visual Study of Breathing patterns
Pretty early on I decided to build myself a piece of parametric software to define the geometry
for the actuators. Actually I built two separate programs… The first was essentially the standard
parallel layout with the central channel and the second was based on Bezier curves for the
main component of the network.
When defining input parameters over multiple iterations… Having a program
set up proved incredibly useful in labour saving as I was having to draw all my geometry
manually previously which just got tedious. Also, it was great to have all of the input variables
stored automatically (a spreadsheet is exported with the geometry)… I had the feeling that
generating data based on the actual material performance would be as easy but hmmm…
I guess we live and learn!
…the software here was scripted in Processing
As well as researching the field of soft Robotics - I am also an artist. Here’s some examples of
my work. The back story here is that I lived in Vienna for year and became interested in the
huge amounts of Rubens paintings in the city (the Largest collection of any city I believe)…
I started playing around with the idea of using them to create my own work. After a while
multiple references started to come in from various sources such as anatomy, Architectural
design and De Kooning, who is a painter I never quite understood to be honest - but life is a
mystery so there you go…
…more soft bodied membranes to follow…
Graphing atmospheric noise
So yesterday I said that the BMP085 was giving a ‘tolerable amount of noise’ in the data, but I thought I should zoom in on that a little just to check what we mean by tolerable…
The graph here is showing a sample set of 24 readings and plotting them with an average, a min and a max:
- Average: 101272.164 pa
- Min: 101258.000 pa
- Max: 101278.000 pa
- Noise Range: 20.0 pa
- Noise as a percentage of total: 0.02%
With a range of only 0.02%, this is incredibly reassuring within itself but I will have to check with the actuators to see what kind of range they are producing in relation to standard atmospheric pressure and whether this noise value has any impact. I am assuming not for now but we’ll see…
BUMPING in to George Profenza…
I had the good fortune to bump into George Profenza yesterday on a tea Break… I had a couple of residual issues interfacing the Barometer (below) with Processing Via Arduino. George kindly stepped in to resolve the problems… Thanks George!
Connecting the BMP085
I managed to get the BMP085 Barometer connected fairly easily and its giving stable readings with a tolerable degree of noise. The image here with the Blue dots is atmospheric pressure readings in Wolfson House (UCL) that are being fed into processing Via the Arduino. I am getting a reading of approx 102158Pa (Pascals). meteoprog.co.uk is saying that the pressure in London today is 796 mmHg(Torr) which converts to exactly 102524.619 Pa - so I’m satisfied that the Bmp085 is giving me pretty reliable data.
The most useful literature I found about connecting the Barometer was provided by the good people at SparkFun here. There were two fixes in the code as I think some of the functions have been updated:
- wire.send(); becomes wire.write();
- wire.receive(); becomes wire.read();