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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: ETH Zurich; University of Zurich; Wyss Zurich (UZH + ETHZ); OST Rapperswil; ZHAW Winterthur; FHGR Chur
Project no: GRS-063/20
Amount of funding: CHF 100'000
Duration: 11.2020 - 11.2022
Area of activity:
Clusterförderung, seit 2018
Aparna Rao, Projektct Founder /Director
Automous Systems Lab
Leonhardstrasse 21, LEE J 317
8092 Zürich (Schweiz)
The proposal is for the establishment of a new Robotics Aesthetics & Usability Center (RAUC) within the ecosystem of ETH Zurich. The aim of the center is to connect the world of high technology to Arts education and public culture, with a focus on the following three areas:
a. Usability: In order to make robotics accessible to non-engineers, it must be easy to use, flexible and robust. A key aspect of our platform is to enable the user to control and manage motion and behavior parameters in real-time through a browser interface. This eliminates the need for complex engineering software interfaces and high technical user literacy.
b. Sentience: At the core of RUAC’s mission is seeing robotic movement as reflecting the inner state of a being, and enabling life-like movement, responsive, nuanced behaviour and personalisation . The focus is on perception of life in physical animation and subjective interpretation, which is currently under-explored in the vast spectrum of robotic motion.
c. Aesthetics: RUAC foresees great potential in bringing visual innovation to the field of Robotics and the Arts by re-imagining what a ‘robot’ can look / feel like—also taking inspiration from a range of resources including Evolutionary Biology, Art, fashion and popular culture.
The plan is to develop the PATHOS tools, conduct workshops and hold public exhibitions that demonstrate the potential of Robotics as a medium of human communication; essentially, the affective language of motion and response, now in the service of the individual as a tool for self-expression.
What is special about the project?
The project is a demonstration of the potential for the complex field of Robotics to become accessible to non-technical users, through an open and radically friendly browser interface. It originates from the practice of Indo-Danish art duo Pors & Rao, who, since 2002, have approached Robotics as tools for a performative language of movement and behaviour. Shaped by their highly precise visual, form, aural and motion aesthetics, the project has found its way into a niche segment: i.e., enabling other visual practitioners to explore the medium of physical animation. By bringing spontaneity and intuition into the craft of character-building in inanimate objects, it is suddenly possible to explore a multitude of personal and cultural languages embedded in movement.
– 3 independent designers, non-conversant with technology and world leaders in their fields, used the PATHOS tool to further their own visual languages.
– 6 public exhibitions of animated aesthetic projects powered by PATHOS tools.
– Workshop conducted for 40 students at a top-level design school; rapid results demonstrated ease of use.
– Pilot workshop conducted with a 16 year old, who was able to deliver unexpected and imaginative results.
– Requests for robotic animations of the logos of 3 major institutions, demonstrating the potential of the tool in advertising and communication.
– Development of a comprehensive system map of the PATHOS kit, and iterative prototyping of each tool.
None so far
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 10.05.2022