Shift Time – Naturebots

17 06 2009


The thing that all started off this blog is in my first post here and, as part of the Shift-Time festival I will be blogging the event and my involvement in it.

This afternoon I visited the Belvidere School to have a look how the preparations for the Naturebots demonstration are coming along. The idea behind the project is to show how children can use modern technology to program robots, in this case to mimic the movements of a human dancer.

On walking into the room I saw a mass of computers which is something that I  never had when I went to school, no surprise then when the next thing that hit me was a robot the same as the one on the left being controlled by two school children, it was dancing, posing, rolling over, standing on it’s hands and other such things. Pretty amazing thing to see. The robots themselves have been supplied by DACTA which is launching the product as an educational robot. The unit itself has 17 servo motors which allow it to perform all of the tasks it is told to from the dedicated software. The Children were showing me how to instruct it and it is so simple that even I could understand it. Essentially, each joint is shown on the screen and you can simply click on it, move it to the desired position and save that as a move, so on and so forth.

Showing on the wall was the following video which shows what the children are aiming to do, a tall order but from what I have seen, eminently possible.

Wanting to record the event I took my camera along and took some photographs, see the captions for details.

Staff and Pupils from the Mary Webb School

Staff and Pupils from the Mary Webb School with the ED-E

Rhys Marshall-Porter, one of the ED-E programmers.

Rhys Marshall-Porter, one of the ED-E programmers.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out and it will also be good to see how the demonstration is presented having seen some of the background work that is going into it. I really hope that they can pull the synchronisation off, it will all be about the timing.

I hope to catch up with Wren & Ray who are in the process of collecting books to start off the Remembrance Path art project.

From that website:

The artists are based in Shrewsbury, a town influenced by one of its most famous sons, Charles Darwin. During research on Charles Darwin it occurred to the artists what a huge influence loss and bereavement had on his life, both as a young boy who lost his mother and as a parent who suffered the grief of losing a child. Elements of Darwin’s life also linked in with other important aspects of the project, including the importance of walking as a contemplative and healing practise, his use of stones as markers for thoughts as he walked, and the healing and nurturing effect of the landscape.

That will also be a bit of an eye opener as I will be there when they collect a van full of books to help start the labyrinth.

There are going to be some great photographic opportunities at this festival, one person that I definitely want to meet and photograph will be Feng-Ru-Lee. Hopefully I can be a little more creative rather than the standard ‘newsy’ shots above.




5 responses

17 06 2009

Gosh, I wish we’d had things like that when I was at school! (We hadn’t even got as far as calculators in those ancient days, let alone computers.) It looks fun and a real challenge.

17 06 2009
Steve Green

It was quite incredible to see Sue, definitely worth a look on the day.

18 06 2009
Ian Andrew

Have been having a look at your blog and have to admit a lot of the the Shift Time stuff does indeed look interesting, looking forward to your blogging of this…

18 06 2009
Steve Green

Cheers Ian.

6 07 2009
Shift Time – The Launch and the First Day. « The Blog of Steve Green

[…] of theRemembrance Path by two local artists, Wren and Ray. I talk a little bit about it in this post. Trying to get some different angles on the proceedings I got on my belly and after being […]

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