Art Robot Project by: Sophia Hsu

Introduction of My Project: When I first started out thinking of possibilities for my art robot, I thought about the different elements that would contribute to the makings of the robot, such as the time limit, which was about a month, the size, which was small enough to fit into the project box, and other things like weight. I also thought about what the robot could use to make art, such as a paintbrush arm, or painting tractors, maybe even something like a 3-D printed body or laser-cut limbs. I also considered the fact that we had to create our robots so that it could stand up on it's own, with perhaps an appendage or two to make the art.

This is the first draft of a possible schematic for the robot my parter and I came up with. As you can see, we decided to make the body a box-shape, and have an arm on the top, with a motor and a knob sensor. The arm's motor would be activated by the sensor, along with the Hummingbird board, and the arm would reach into the box of paint and then use the sponge connected to the end of the arm to make art. We ended up not really changing anything, and the plan worked out pretty well.
It took a bit of thought to figure out what materials we were going to use to make our robot so it was sturdy and would not break. We ended up choosing to laser-cut some pieces of cardboard, then connect them with joints so it would bend. We also partially cut a sponge in half so it would fit snugly on the end of the arm. As for the rotator, we thought about a circular base, then scrapped that idea and just used a motor and some tape to secure it.
At the beginning of it all, I was thinking more towards a robot that would maybe hold a writing utensil such as a paintbrush or a pen. It turned out that my partner thought it would be easier to code it to just swing back and forth, and we set that as our goal instead. We still kept the paint idea, though. Also mentioned before, instead of just the motor, we were thinking about possibly having a circular base with the motor underneath, which never made it to the final plans.
It turned out that my partner had a lot more knowledge on the coding process of it all, from last year's project and robotics club. She ended up handling the coding, while I worked more on the physical things, like making sure our robot didn't collapse or fall apart. I have a better idea on how to support collapsing cardboard boxes, but I think it would be nice to learn a bit more about how to code the motors and sensors.

Approaches Different Groups Took: From what I saw during all the brainstorming, creation process, and finally, display, a lot of people went with the idea of using paint to make their art. A couple examples of different ways people integrated that into their robots are: 1, the group across from my group at our table took a very similar approach, using a sponge to paint. However, they put their's on the bottom of their robot, seeing as their creation was supposed to resemble a snail. They also attached a motor to the sponge, so the moving sponge created an interesting pattern. 2, another group that I visited a couple times ended up with a pretty interesting robot. A robot that resembled a car, and when it moved, the wooden circles they used as wheels ran through the paint, and left paint tracks where it 'drove'. It was quite funny to watch, honestly. I discovered that there's a lot of different ways that you can integrate something into your project, and still come out with something original.

I personally believe that our project was a success. We ended up with a robot that worked exactly as we had planned, albeit it worked about 90% of the time, and spent the other 10% of the time making us panic and try to frantically figure out why it wasn't working anymore. Overall, the robot created some pretty cool art, it's intended function, even though it made quite a mess when it did. If that isn't a success, I don't know what is!

New Ideas for Potential Uses of Motors and Sensors: Well, creating robots is a pretty hard idea to top. I mean, you could probably creat a propeller or something for a miniature vehicle. That would be a pretty difficult but definitely interesting project.

Any Other Info for Fellow Designers and Teachers: Well, working with these things can be a pain. A really big pain. A really big pain. Don't worry if it takes you a while, just ask someone like the teacher, and hopefully they'll be able to help you. Hope this helped you a bit.

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