The artistic objective of our project has not changed. As the performer interacts with different items on the table, the automated robot does the same to give the illusion of a ghost or imaginary friend. The artistic premise behind our performance is loneliness, and how we always need something to occupy us when we are alone, even if that is a ghost or an imaginary friend.
In our simulation, we decided to mock up the robotic component that would lift the chalice into the air to create the illusion of a ghost or imaginary friend is taking a drink. We wanted to experiment with putting a second motor where the arm reaches the chalice to tip the chalice further once raised. By adding this feature, we wanted to test how realistic we could make the motion of taking a sip of a drink. Based of the success of the simulation, we feel we are able to create a more realistic and immersive experience – allowing us to stick to our artistic intention. We accomplished this by tuning the PID controller that we implemented. For example, increasing the damping allowed for a more realistic look as one typically makes slower movements as they bring a glass closer to their mouth or closer back to the table.
If we weren’t able to make a somewhat realistic looking simulation, we may have pivoted towards an obviously robotic experience with snappy movements and more visible electronics/ mechanical structures.
Based off this simulation, we are planning on physically building the 2 DOF system with a DC motor at the bottom hinge and likely a servo motor at the top of the chalice. We will use a clear acrylic as the lever arm and attach it to each motor. While we won’t be able to hide all of the electronics perfectly, we should be able to make a fairly convincing prototype followed by more immersive iterations. We will need to buy a plastic chalice, as a heavy glass would make it harder to control with the motors and resources we have. We can also make a mock up of our false table cover.