A potential design for the robot.

The overall idea is to create a drawing robot that makes drawings then crumples up the drawing after being unsatisfied with the resulting drawing. There would be a human performer element to the piece where the human performer walks up to the robot, un-crumples the drawings, and then displays them as “awesome robot art” and replaces the paper for the robot to try again. (trying to be supportive of the robot) The actual drawings will consist of a set order of drawings that create a narrative of the robot trying to draw better and eventually creating a drawing it doesn’t crumple up. The audience would be able to come up to the piece at any point in the process and see the existing list of drawings and the current drawing the robot is working on to get the idea of progress without having to see the whole performance. Of course, the final drawing the robot does not crush would only be visible to the people there at the end.

The piece will consist of a robot arm that draws (would likely try to use the existing robot arm for this), rollers to push the paper into the crusher and the crusher itself to crush up the drawings. The robot will also have a little “thinking” tapping finger thing to indicate when it is thinking about what to draw or when the performer is talking to it as though it were listening. The robot is controlled by the other performer (secretly) and can tap its “finger” or start the drawing in response to what the performer is saying. We could potentially use clothing/props for the robot to make it seem more “person” to the audience, and/or hand like shapes for the crusher to look like it’s an integral part of the robot (cartoon hands with same color as the drawing parts). The mechanical resources required would be the robot arm, the pen attachment for that arm, motors to drive the rollers, motors to drive the crushing mechaism, and a servo or motor to actuate the tapping finger. The software resources would consist of a computer with whatever software is required to control the robot, and a microcontroller to control the rollers and crusher.

The lateral movement of the crusher could potentially be achieved using the arc of an arm rotational motor. Fabrication could be difficult and getting a motor strong enough could also be an issue, but the visual effect of this would definitely be more interesting than a lead-screw system.

Drawing of potential crushing mechanism