New exhibition in the Ars Electronica Center
(Linz, February 9, 2017) In the wake of steam engines, the assembly line and (micro-) electronics, humankind is now interlinking products, machines and tools via the internet to launch a fourth Industrial Revolution. And while some see the huge economic potential and enormous opportunities to create a better future inherent in this, others fear for their jobs and thus their livelihood. But what is undisputed by anyone is that this emerging megatrend will have massive social, economic and political consequences. The objective of the “Creative Robotics” exhibition running until March 12th is to give visitors an idea of what robots will be doing in the future. This show was produced in cooperation with robot manufacturer KUKA, Linz Art University’s Laboratory for Creative Robotics, the Institute of Robotics at JKU–University of Linz, the Robotic Woodcraft research project at the University of Applied Arts Vienna / Robots in Architecture, the Faculty of Architecture at RWTH Aachen University, the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart, Marc Printz/Fluxuri™ and the Ars Electronica Center. The focus is on machines that have been utilized up to now in industrial mass fabrication but are increasingly being deployed in such fields as art, design and architecture as catalysts for innovation. A whole weekend program dedicated to “Creative Robotics” awaits visitors to the Ars Electronica Center on Saturday & Sunday, February 11-12, 2017. The lineup includes guided tours and a speech about the human-robot relationship. There’ll also be refreshing drinks mixed by an industrial robot.
Fluxuri / Marc Printz
Fluxuri is an innovative screen made out of a very thin, flexible material that can be painted by merely touching it and then easily erased. The individual pixels are “flipped” and can then retain that position. Fluxuri can be painted manually—the user simply strokes the surface with his/her hands or fingers—or mechatronically by means of a special plotter or robot. Together with Linz Art University’s Robotics Lab, Ars Electronica is now doing research on robotic processes that take advantage of the full range of Fluxuri’s capabilities. The objective is to create an interactive display. In going about this, however, the accent isn’t on maximizing efficiency but rather on the aesthetic process of painting.
Tailored Structures / Martin Alvarez, Erik Martinez
“Tailored Structures” was inspired by production technologies in the fashion industry. An industrial sewing machine is mounted on an industrial robot, which enables it to sew together 3-millimeter-thick beech wood plates. The project’s mission was to develop a new way of interconnecting wood. Using this type of bond, the sewn elements display a high degree of stability while their form exhibits flexibility. “Tailored Structures” is the degree project of Martin Alvarez and Erik Martinez, students at the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart.
Robotic Woodcraft is a collaborative research project being carried out by the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Association for Robots in Architecture and Lucy.D, a Vienna-based design studio. Architects, mathematicians, designers and master cabinetmakers are exploring new ways to process wood and new forms of human-machine cooperation in this area. Their focus is on industrial robots as tools that are versatile and can be employed intuitively.
coffee table – AAC16 extended / PHAAD / Philipp Hornung, Robotic Woodcraft
The “coffee table – AAC16 extended” consists of commercially-available plastic rods. Instead of using costly formworks to impart the desired shape to these rods, they’re bent by a robot. The design of the table frame is based on a continuous, three-dimensionally curving plastic spline describing a spatial, intertwined and load-bearing knot. The frame was fabricated using a special production setup so that the respective elements with their distinctive curvatures could be manufactured via a totally automated, multi-step process. The finished frame elements were assembled by hand and then connected to a customized tabletop.
azW KIT / PHAAD / Philipp Hornung, Robotic Woodcraft
The essential idea behind the “azW KIT” is the efficient use of the stool’s own geometry. The bridging element between the vertical frame and the horizontal deck is a hull consisting of actively-bending, partial surfaces. The stool, all elements of which were machined out of various wooden composite materials by an industrial robot, exhibits high load capacity in comparison to its own low weight.
TRANS / Georg Sampl, Robotic Woodcraft
The design of this prototype was inspired by an essay on the architecture of Irish designer Eileen Gray, who coined the term “style camping” in 1927. The various components and connectors making up this piece of furniture’s frame were milled by a KUKA industrial robot and then manually finished and assembled.
Robot, Doing Nothing / Robotic Woodcraft, Emanuel Gollob, supported by Johannes Braumann UFG
Human beings are incessantly up to something or other. After all, time is precious so we have to take advantage of it. Thanks to digital technologies, we’re present virtually ‘round-the-clock and able to receive communiqués. But does this also means that we’re receptive to such entreaties and ready for action 24/7? This is the point of departure of “Robot, Doing Nothing” by Emanuel Gollob. The student at the University of Applied Arts Vienna has created a fictitious scenario based on the findings of studies which demonstrate that our efficiency is further enhanced by occasionally doing nothing. Austria’s Ministry of Commerce and Labor then follows this recommendation and decides to remunerate members of the country’s workforce for their efficiency-enhancing inactivity. The better they implement this approach, the more compensation they’re paid. To encourage people to get started as professional idlers, robotic installations in public spaces are presented to the citizenry, whereby observing the changes the machinery’s form constantly undergoes is meant to facilitate the segue into a meditative state of indolence. In this relaxed frame of mind and body, it’s possible to focus on one’s self and open up to sweet stasis.
Kinetic Weaving / RWTH Aachen University
Viktoria Falk and Lukas Mahlendorf’s luggage includes their own traveling pavilion, which was executed as their final assignment at the RWTH Aachen’s Faculty of Architecture, where their supervisors were Sigrid Brell-Cokcan (Individualized Building Production) and Linda Hildebrand (Recycling-Oriented Construction). Based on their work, RWTH Aachen has developed an intelligent robotic aide in cooperation with KUKA, a manufacturer of industrial robots. This assistant supports the fabrication of foldable construction elements created from a variety of materials. Semi-automated manufacturing and the manual assembly of small structures is accomplished with—as well as without—active collaboration with the robot by means of haptic programming.
Self-Balancing Cube / Johannes Kepler University Linz
The Department of Robotics at Johannes Kepler University Linz has designed a cube that balances on one corner without toppling over. A built-in gyroscope is what makes it so stable. The physics behind this is the principle of the conservation of angular momentum, the so-called pirouette effect we’re familiar with from figure skating. Most famously, gyroscopes are used in satellites and drones.
PRINT A DRINK / Benjamin Greimel; Philipp Hornung; Johannes Braumann; PRINT A DRINK; Linz Art University
PRINT A DRINK is the world’s first 3-D printing process to turn out drinks and other liquid foodstuffs. To proffer them, a robot arm injects fine drops of oil into a “cocktail.” The results are fascinating manifestations of the art of mixology in which three-dimensional forms seem to float as if by magic. The production process is an example of efficient human-machine interaction: the robot prints out the cocktail while the bartender prepares the next guest’s drink. High-end technology blends with molecular gastronomy to concoct a real eye-catcher.