Infusing Art with Technology

Blooms are animated sculptures by Stanford professor John Edmark. They are 3D printed pieces that are animated when they are illuminated by strobe lights. This makes these solid sculptures appear soft and alive. The pieces explore growth in nature using progressive rotations of ϕ and Fibonacci. John Edmark’s work explores growth in nature, from pinecones to flowers, and attempts to portray them through artificial materials.

The piece does not incorporate any soft robotics, although it expresses a similar motion to those found in many soft robots. I think there would be unique challenges to making a soft robot that with tentacles that bend with a greater degree of curvature. One possibility is to create a soft robot with tentacles, similar to an octopus.

One technical paper that addresses the concept of curving soft arms is “The Tentacle Bot”: a soft robot engineered and designed at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in 2020. The team found that tuning the angle of taper in the soft actuators allowed for a greater range of bending curvatures for the soft robots. In artistic application, this would allow for moving sculptures that can replicate the bending of tentacles more accurately that preexisting soft actuators.

  1. John Edmark. BLOOMS. California, United States. 2014. url:

2. Zhexin Xie, August G. Domel, Ning An, Connor Green, Zheyuan Gong, Tianmiao Wang, Elias M. Knubben, James C. Weaver, Katia Bertoldi, and Li Wen.Soft Robotics.Oct 2020.639-648.

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