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Robot Archive: The Robotics Project, 2016-ongoing
Image of a miniature pop-up museum of robotics relics housed in Interstate art gallery in Brooklyn, NYC, NY.
The installation contained various objects and robotic ephemera, including: First model of the “Roomba”, over fifteen “RS Media humanoid robots”, Boston Dynamics relics used for training robots, Boston Dynamics aluminum truss structure for motion capture, a “little dog robot”, HTC Vive, found footage from “The Leg Laboratory” on videotape, models of Honda Asimov, steel Planetary robotics cases, motion capture truss.
The idea behind the Robot Archive: The Robotics Project was framed as an experimental museological practice; to create pop-up, site-specific experiences where discussions around the complexity of modern robotics could happen in unconventional contexts. By engaging audiences of nonspecialists, the esoteric and idiosyncratic marvels of modern robotics were made accessible to a wider public.
For the last several years, various installations were hosted as pop-up archives and experiences- including installations in Pittsburgh, PA, Brooklyn, NYC, Virginia, Princeton, NJ, and even Ahmedabad, India.
Featuring a range of robots, ephemera, texts and tools- from the 1940s to the present- these exhibits were hosted by a humanoid robot, who recounted oral histories of robotics, on-demand!
A virtual duplicate of the Brooklyn edition of the archive allowed users to explore interactive robotics simulations in the space that directly matched the physical environment they were in.
You could reliably navigate the physical space while totally immersed in VR since each object was present in both the VR and real environment.
Broadcasting daily live Facebook video series of performances and robot demonstrations, this project garnered an engaged social media following, where the sharing resources of robotics history continues to this day.
Here, the conversation of contemporary robotics and robotics history was engaged and cataloged by a broad audience of individuals, from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Thinking about the archive as a “robot”, various components featured embedded sensors, microprocessors, and actuated elements.
Visitors were guided through multimedia displays; incorporating VR, human-robot interactions, archival explorations of photographs and original VHS research documentation.
A virtual version of the project constantly accrues elements from each temporary installation.
By incorporating 3D scans of the installation environments, as well as 3D models of various robotic artifacts, the virtual version acts as both an archive and interactive educational tool.