LightPlay, Creating a Beautiful Balance Between Tech and Art*

Collaboratively written with Sarah Petkus

LightPlay by Sarah Petkus

From her first robotic project of a dancing light bulb blooms LightPlay, a wonderfully exciting new project by Sarah Petkus.

What is LightPlay?
LightPlay is an interactive robotic art installation involving a massive field of delta robots that move and change color based on a participant’s body gestures and neural input.

About the delta robot minions
The delta is a simple little tripod with a lot of potential! Traditionally used as pick and place machines on assembly lines, delta robots are fast, agile, and have a wide range of motion.

The robots are crafted from 3D printed plastic pieces, held together with minimal hardware, and powered by standard sized servos with an Atmega 328 “brain”.

What I find absolutely fantastic about this is Sarah’s welcoming all of us, lovers of art and technology from novice to professional, into her abundantly creative world.

There is an intimidating veil of mystery hanging over the world of electronics which kept me from diving into tinkering for years. I figured the learning curve was too hard to overcome and didn’t really know where to start in the first place. It was due to a very specific chain of events in my life that lead me to the maker community, otherwise I’d still just be dreaming of the things I’m creating today. I know there are others out there in the same position I was… So to promote some techie awareness I’m leading by example. In [January, 2014] I’ll be making my delta robot available as a kit so others can get their feet wet with soldering and fabrication.

Each Atmega will arrive pre-programmed with open source code that gives the robot basic instructions regarding its movements. Sarah explains that the pins of the Atmega 328 are broken out, so you can make use of all the pins for your own projects. Whether you want to automate your delta, or integrate a remote control, you’ll be able to get full use out of the chip on the PCB!

 

Stay updated for the Kickstarter launch by joining the mailing list or visit Robotic Arts to find out more about the project LightPlay.

* This post was originally written for the OSH Park blog, and published on December 24, 2013.

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