Taos, New Mexico-based artist Christian Ristow, veteran builder of robots, animatronics, and all things kinetic, creates provocative, interactive pieces like Hand of Man and Fledgling. One of his newest pieces, Face Forward, created for Burning Man 2011, is a 12-foot-tall robotic human face, whose major facial movements can be controlled by viewer participants. Each of the 12 individual movements within the face, like the corners of the mouth, the eyebrows, and eyelids, is a separate mechanism powered by a servomotor and controlled by an individual joystick situated within a semi-circular array of control stations, placed approximately 30 feet in front of the face. Communication between the control station array and the face is wireless.
Ristow was inspired by how expressive the human face is in terms of musculature and how much we can communicate using expressions, without even speaking. Ristow writes, “Face Forward is an exercise in group dynamics. It offers the possibility of collective striving to achieve something which, when seen, will be immediately recognizable to the entire group, and therefore immediately satisfying. … The face will be a reflection of the dynamic within the group operating it.”
Want to see it in person? Ristow will have Face Forward on display at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place on May 19 and 20 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds.
The National Robotics Week Robot Challenge is a great share your robotics projects, learn from others, and win some great prizes to help you make your next robot! Just tell us about your simple robotics projects – something K-12 students could reasonably make while working with a teacher or mentor.
What kind of robot projects are eligible for the contest?
- simple robots made from scratch
- robots built on a standard platform
- parts of a more complex robot (a manipulator, sensor, or housing)
Who can enter?
Everyone can enter! We’re also giving away student-specific judges’ prizes, so if you’d like to be considered for these student prizes, please mention your age category in the intro step.
They’re explicitly looking for entries from school, club, and scouting groups – this is part of the National Robotics Week educational outreach program and they want to see your group’s robot!
Special Judges’ Prizes
Age 12 & Under*, Age 13-18*, Simplest Bot, Best Use of a Platform, Best Robot Part, Best Video, Best Group, Best Documentation, Best Reuse/Recycling.
*Please mention your age in the intro step. 12 & Under groups must have Instructable published by an adult.
Contest is open to entries from US, Canada [excluding Quebec], UK, China, Belgium, Netherlands, and Australia. Contest closes for entries at 11:59pm PT, June 11.
Makezine latest Weekend Project will have you exploring the field of BEAM robotics, which… wait, did that Symet just move on its own accord? Yes, these BEAM Solar Chariots have a mind of their own! Well not really a mind, more like a nervous system that stores up solar power and then discharges it, producing movement. Inspired by nature, BEAM stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics, which both informs and inspires BEAM design and function. The Solar Roller and Symet both use the same circuit design, dubbed “solar engine,” named so for deriving its energy from solar light. With various technoscrap parts — we salvaged ours from an old micro-cassette player – and common components (transistors, resistors, LED, and capacitors) hooked up to a solar cell, you can build one of these little critters!
The Solar Roller move forward with bursts of energy, while the Symet spins around on its DC motor’s axle. Watch the video below to see both these vehicle being built and in action, then head over to the project page to start making your own BEAM critters!
See all of the Weekend Projects posts