Gabriella Levine

ongoing and past work


To do:
1.Transpose important elements from the above “map”
I had a very specific topic of interest I would like to explore – the open source hardware system and agent-based software architecture for a universal-joint system for individual units that self-assemble into a biomimetic linear, snakelike robot that is adaptable for different purposes and functions.
However, I would like to instead build a large scale (2 meter?) vertebrate like robot in a finished form. This will be an aesthetic design that stems out of the idea and project, Protei, that I am working on, which is an open source prototype for a fleet of semi-autonomous or remote controlled, segmented, shape shifting, oil-collecting sailboat drone. I would like to create both DIY kits for a fully segmented and articulated robotic snake, with a software package, mechanical designs, and electronic architecture, for a smaller simpler version of this boat, but focus on the large scale model and the concept of biomimicry in science and art.

I believe I have to hone in on the unification of the above utilitarian function and inspiration, while also developing the concept of giving life and autonomy to a machine (that can therefore possess its own life cycle), the transformation of human body/mind by modern technology, beauty in the grotesque, the commodification of technology and body…

So… how can I move forwards and converge all of the above (how can I justify making an “aesthetic object”, with the function only as a prompting driving impulse)

2. 3 developments:
1. Bill of materials; Finish instructables for the DIY kit (as an example):

2. write – a description of moving forwards
3. Finish the Arduino “snakeWave” class and implement it with the hardware I have started to use to model the snake with servos; Make a software representation of the wave in processing of the individual segments – Software progress : Servo_wave class for arduino

  • I took down the model snake robot I built last semester but then decided to use five independent servos. So I glued five down in the orientation that I imagine they will be in, as a prototype to use with Arduino Mega.
  • So this:
  • will model this:

  • 3a. Gather research papers :
    1. Application of AI Techniques for Modelling of a Snake’s Motion, Zenon Chaczko, Perez Moses (Australia)
    2. Bio-inspired Agent-based System for Cooperative Decision-making and Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
    3. Software Infrastructure for Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks
    4. Ant-Based Topology Convergence Algorithms for Resource Management in VANETs
    5. Neuro-Immune-Endocrine (NIE) Models for Emergency Services Interoperatibility

    … and more

    BOOKS I have :
    Neurotechnology for Biomimetic Robots
    Self Reconfigurable Robots
    Autonomous Robots: From Biological Inspiration to Implementation and Control
    Biomechanisms of swimming and flying

    3b. A few artists and pieces to look into for ‘maps’ of inspirations:

    Alexander McQueen, Untitled Spine Corset
    David Cronenberg (and J.G. Ballard), Crash
    Tetsuo, Shin’ya Tsukamoto
    Natalie Jeremijenko, Amphibious Architecture

    U Ram Choe: Custos Cavum
    Interview with the creators project

    4. map one of your inspirations’ projects based on the criteria in the map/brainstorming session.
    URam Choe’s Custos Cavum:
    · Forms (video, sculpture, website, diorama, comic book, collage).

    · Materials (concrete, plexiglass, living tissue, rice paper, cake)
    -steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, resin, CPUs, motors

    · Scale (use analogies: big as a house, small as a marble)
    -as big as a large truck in its entirety, (basically the size of a large seal), but parts of the piece span upwards vertically towards the ceiling and horizontally across the floor

    · Affects/emotions (clumsy, cheerful, morose, businesslike)
    -grandiose, awe-inspiring, courageous, fear inspiring, stoic, cold, uninviting, of fortitude, somber, tranquil, subtle, impressive, magnificient, aggressive, autonomous, iconographic, cosmic, idealic, center, universal, ecstasy, primordial, territorial

    · Verbs (motivate, collapse, upset, tickle, spin, collect, etc)
    -protect, ward off, illuminate, care, defend, shimmer, breathe, live, cycle, guard, idolize, transcend, destroy, gesture, dominate

    · Motivations (why do you want to do/explore this? your reason, underlying impulse, larger aim?)
    -explore the feeling of awe and transcendance that one gets from religion (this piece is inspired by Shiva as the Lord of Dance, in India), ie from going into a church or dominating piece of architecture, through a machine
    -give life and autonomy to a machine – power it on and it has a life of its own.
    -a group of humans come together to give birth to this creation
    – explore religion through an object, through the electromechanical design – give it life, and it surely takes on a life of its own, the sum of which is greater than the parts (many humans from different disciplines come together to make a machine that can be more powerful than humans); This creature protects and dominates over its realm; It eventually decays (rusts, dies)
    -explore the spiritual through a machine creation that resembles life but does not mimic it.

    · Inspirations (projects, people, contexts that inspire you to follow this hunch)
    -Buddhism, life cycle,
    -transformation of human psychology by modern technology
    -beauty in the grotesque
    -Theo Jansen – the fusion of nature and technology with nothing but power from the natural world (wind in some cases)
    -Rube Goldberg, Alexander Calder, Arthur Ganson, Lyman Whitaker, László Moholy-Nagy (and other kinetic sculptors)
    -Tetsuo (metal fetishist)

    · Ideal audiences (be specific: Guyanese senior citizens, tech geeks in Brooklyn or Fukushima, 3-5 yr old Americans, white hipsters, demographic, economic, social circles)
    -Upper west side shrinks, Asian Buddhists and non-Buddhists, Artists and hobbyists fascinated with kiinetics, artists of all sorts, kids, serious people, spiritualists, people who love literature and/or history
    · Context/location (gallery, dark alley, the internet, public park, suburban cul-desac)
    -vast space, atrium, lobby, serene place, gallery or museum or performance space

    Lastly, take your temperature on what you discovered or explored today in class:
    · What are the first steps?
    -firmware (Arduino), hardware model, mechanical platform, hone in on how to talk about the concept of this – unite the functionality of these robots with the aesthetic vision I have
    · Is it big enough to interest you for a whole semester?
    · If it is enormous, what aspect of this core idea can you tackle?
    -It is enormous, so I am tacking not what interests me utmost (the hardware of a joint system for a modular self assembling robot made up of multiple independent units) but the aesthetics of one developed biomimetic snake robot that is a more developed version of smaller open source models and prototype for which I will have DIY kits, for small functioning skeletons of a robotic boat that can do things like: clean up polluted waters, biological sampling, nuclear waste monitoring; larger environmental impacts: crowdsourced oil spill cleanup with swarms of drones…