Sketching Device #1 is a moody art machine for which expression is more important than precision. Its bad temper turns simple instructions (back, left, down, right, repeat) into unpredictable swirls and snarls.
Based on research by Dan Reznik at the University of California, and inspired by a remark by Ed Stastny, Sketching Device #1 sends low-frequency vibrations through a sheet of paper to guide objects– such as pens– in any direction, without direct contact. The principle is similar to the way you scoot yourself around in a rolling office chair without touching the floor: jerk back quickly to make the chair move forward, and relax more slowly to get centered again without pulling the chair back. Sketching Device #1 does this about thirty times per second– too fast too see– and the pen in its plastic “boat” appears to float around the page by itself. In this primitive implementation, the process is not very reliable or predictable, and that is what makes the resulting sketches interesting.
Some of Sketching Device #1′s drawings were exhibited at Flux Factory’s Works on Paper exhibit and sale.
SD#1 got a gig at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA:
Art Meets Science, May 18, 2006
The sketching machine was exhibited as part of the Robotix’s Festival at Parc d’aventures scientifiques, a Belgian science museum.
See all the other installations at the Robotix’s site
Here are some photos of visitors playing with Sketching Device #1 at Artbots 2002.
For many more photos from Artbots, visit the old Sketching Device homepage or artbots.org.
These are some of the drawings made by visitors to Artbots in collaboration with Sketching Device #1.
For more, visit the old Sketching Device homepage
Note: you can purchase any of these drawings for $45 each, or if you really hate them, I will destroy them for you at $75 each.
Read about the first Artbots exhibit and Sketching Device #1 in the New York Times!
Most entries fell into the category that Mr. Galanter called ”punk-rock robotics,” emphasizing cheap components and a playful do-it-yourself approach.
Ranjit Bhatnagar said he had torn apart his stereo speakers to build Sketching Device No. 1, which used patterns of vibration to move pens across a sheet of paper. David Webber’s AO2000, which visitors picked as their favorite, made chaotic music with a blender, an adding machine, two laptop computers, an old television and some coffee cans, among other things. Symet Studio, by Stefan Prosky, a family of simple solar-powered robots that left trails of dots as they hopped around, was voted best of show by the robot-builders.
The cranky doodling machine had its public debut at the Artbots Festival at Pratt University in Brooklyn. Hundreds of visitors came to see the artsy robots dance, sing, and doodle, and many of them left with a sketch they made in a hands-on collaboration with the Sketching Device.