Dancing with Robotic Spider Crabs

Posted 29 Jan 2007 at 23:30 UTC by steve Share This

The Shadow Robot Company, known for their air muscle powered robot hand, is collaborating with the Visual Arts and Communications department of Leeds University to build a "6 legged insect with a height of approximately 3m and a width that approaches 4m" that will interact with human dancers. Apparently only one leg will be a physical, air muscle driven system, while the remainder of the crab (or insect) will be a computer simulation. The dance project is intended to "explore and articulate the emergent nature of the interface between technological objects and the human". For more details, read on for the full text of the press release.

The Shadow Robot Company will be building and simulating a gigantic spider crab for the new portfolio project of The Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications at Leeds University.

Professor Mick Wallis contacted The Shadow Robot Company to simulate a 6 legged insect with a height of approximately 3m and a width that approaches 4m.

They will build one limb of the spider crab and interface it with a virtual simulation of the other limbs. This will allow the whole system to be explored concurrently. The one limb will be suspended from the ceiling and will interact with the performers by its Air Muscle driven legs.

"Exploring at the cutting edges of robotics research is what Shadow is all about, and this ground-breaking work at the interface of robotics and dance will be a great source of inspiration and a fascinating challenge for us," says Rich Walker.

Mick Wallis: "This is a very exciting project and a true collaboration. I feel privileged to be leading it."

The spider crab will be part of the Emergent Objects project that seeks to use performance knowledge to explore and articulate the emergent nature of the interface between technological objects and the human which they believe is fundamental to the development of new design thinking and practices.

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Notes for the editor:

1. For their project, the Faculty of Performance, Visual arts and Communications, received a £ 300,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research council and EPSRC.

2. The project is scheduled for 2007 and will end with an 'Emerging Objects' Performative event/installation.

3. The Shadow Robot Company is a friendly Robotics company based in London. Their leading project is the Shadow Dexterous Hand but they have also interests outside traditional robotics. More information is available at www.shadowrobot.com.

4. The Faculty of Performance, Visual arts and Communications teaches not only performance but also the role performance plays in society, and how it both reflects and challenges culture. More information can be found at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/paci/index.html.

5. The Arts and Humanities Research Council supports research within a huge support domain from traditional humanities subjects, such as history, modern languages and English literature, to the creative and performing arts.

6. EPSRC funds research and postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences at universities and other organisations throughout the UK.

Contact Details

Marketing Executive:

Marie De Ryck, +44 (0)207 700 2487, marie@shadowrobot.com

Technical Director:

Rich Walker, +44 (0)207 700 2487, rw@shadowrobot.com

Out of hours:

Rich Walker, +44 (0)786 656 1014



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