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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); HSR 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, Artist in Residence
8092 Zürich (Schweiz)
The proposal is the establishment of a new Robotics Aesthetics & Usability Center (RAUC) within the ecosystem of ETH Zurich with the aim of connecting the world of high technology to arts education and public culture. By developing an online, open source animatronics platform, we hope to enable non-technical people to access tools for robotic animation that can offer new possibilities for visual aesthetics and personal expression.
These are the three focus areas:
USABILITY: A key aspect of our platform is the ability to control and manage motion and behaviour parameters in real-time through a browser interface. This eliminates the need for engineering software interfaces or high technical user literacy.
SENTIENCE: Approaching physical movement as a vehicle of expression and involuntary communication of inner states of mind, is at the core of RUAC’s mission; particularly how the notion of an alive presence where emotions and thoughts can be perceived through physical motion and response.
AESTHETICS: Currently the appearance and movements of robots are largely influenced by the functional requirements of industrial use. We would like to explore a direction that disregards technical form, and is guided purely by subjective imagination and visual aesthetics.
The mission is to develop the PATHOS tools, conduct workshops and hold public exhibitions to share its tools and vision.
What is special about the project?
The project is unique in several ways; with its origins in the art practice of Indo-Danish art duo Pors & Rao, who found a perfect ecosystem for their responsive works, within the Swiss academic technological set up with its historical, world class expertise in robotic motion control. Engaging with the academic community and a highly supportive partnerships with industry, there were unexpected results both in terms of infusing robotics with affective qualities as well as synergies with students, labs and companies. This culminated in an exciting demonstration at the ETH Pavilion in Davos in 2020. What started as a modest artist in residence program at Wyss Zurich in 2017, could potentially transform into a universal, open source platform with browser based control for nuanced motion control. By creating a unique mode were early users are learners and contributors; there is high resource optimisation and combining of multi-disciplinary processes/ spheres of knowledge.
Our goals are divided into 3 key areas:
PATHOS DEVELOPMENT: We already have proof of concept of some tools and methodologies, but would need to upgrade this for larger groups of users. The first 6 months’ focus is to build a robust environment to be able to conduct workshops. The next 12 months are planned to integrate a contribution model for tools. The last 6 months are reserved for iterations and feedback.
EXHIBITIONS: Our strategy is to show the potential of PATHOS both in terms of creative and personal possibilities but also for robustness and reliability in the public domain. A series of exhibitions/ public displays have been planned starting from month 6.
WORKSHOPS: We aim to engage students of art and design as well as children through workshops, academic courses and outreach projects. Between month 8 and 22, we plan 4 design/ art workshops and 2 children's programs.
None so far
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 19.10.2021