Day 1: (Tue Aug 30, Week 1) Welcome and Introduction

Notes for 2022-08-30.

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  1. Welcome to 16-375/54-375 Robotics for Creative Practice!

    • scope and style of the course

    • IDeATe “Physical Computing” minor

    • collaboration and reflection

    • major objective: live human-machine performance

  2. Administrative

  3. Discussion and demo

    1. Mutual introductions, In-Class Exercise: Interview Game.

    2. Longer reflection on course themes, see Discussion notes and Related Video below.

    3. Brief Webots simulator demonstration.

New Assignments

  1. Please install the simulator software on your own laptop: Webots Robot Simulator, Python 3 Installation

  2. Please complete the RCP Fall 2022 Skill Survey if you haven’t already. This should just take a few minutes.

  3. Please fill out the RCP F22 office hours poll if you haven’t already.

  4. Please complete laser-cutter training if you have not already done so. There are three parts:

    For more details: IDeATe Laser Cutter Policies, IDeATe Laser Cutter Overview

Discussion notes

For reference: Course Description

  1. What the course is not:

    • robots as fabrication machinery

    • mobile robotics

    • planning and navigation

    • AI and machine learning

    • a unified narrative stage show; this is more of a set of explorations and experiments

  2. human-machine collaborative performance

    • hybrid performer: machine form, human intuition, semi-automated behaviors

    • investigates a frontier of real-time interaction

    • central premise: real-time remote performance will create audience connection

    • plays to our institutional strengths

Bonus Video

Extra Notes (not covered in class)

  1. definitions of “Robotics”

    • AI-oriented: the integration of sensing, cognition, and action

    • Engineering: the discipline of integrating mechanism, software and electronics

    • Industrial: programmable tools

    • Historical: telemanipulation

    • Military: teleoperation

    • Cultural: machines which emulate humans

    • Our working definition: surprisingly animate machines which produce embodied behavior using both algorithms and physical dynamics

  2. definitions of “Creative Practice”. In various contexts:

    • art gallery

    • theater

    • advertising

    • consumer products

    • animatronics

    • the course focus this semester is toward live and improvisatory performance

  3. definitions of “dynamic”

    • \(F = m a\)

    • \(\frac{dx}{dt} <> 0\)

    • something that moves or changes

    • closed-loop, sensor-driven feedback

    • non-repeating pattern

    • constructed of liquid or flexible material

    • interactive

    • fast or energetic

    • computationally generated

    • at the core: a process unfolding through both physics and computation

  4. definitions of “surprisingly animate”. Elusive, much like “Artificial Intelligence”. For us:

    • evoking life

    • using physical movement and dynamics to expose hidden means and intent

    • using the hidden nature of algorithms to construct a performance vocabulary

  5. definitions of “expressive dynamic behavior”

    • physical and mechanical dynamic behavior (without computation)

    • programmed behavior (e.g. animation)

    • feedback-driven generated behavior

    • all told: creating an illusion of life and agency