Rotten Robots

Rotten Robots is my research towards my final MA show in February 2020.

James Auger describes the performance of robotics in our society as:


 ‘... more comparable to a circus or theatre...so whilst there are often suggestions of domestic function such as housekeeping duties or caring for the elderly, the primary role of the robot is that of performer: captivating, entertaining and communicating to a wide-eyed audience the technical prowess or imagination of the organisation behind the spectacle.’


I am exploring the nature of the robot as circus act, the exotic animal of the 21st century. The machine as theatre for future human fears and desires. What is the role of robots in an age of extinction? What should their purpose be and what would be their form and function in a speculative future beyond current petrochemical energy and materials. How might the expo stage or the youtube video appear when a robot made of decaying materials and microbial power performs? How does the master show off his servant when the being in question has an inscrutable mind and an unstable form.


The project has 3 parts:

  • Creating Microbial Fuel Cells run on a substrate of mud and urine.
  • Creating a low powered robot that can be activated with low power from the MFC's
  • Generating a interactive narrative experience of the robot or robots. 

Experimental MFC producing nearly 1.3 volts.

A variety of early MFC prototypes

Using a low powered micro processor (ATTiny85) to activate led's vibration units and micro drives in a sequence.

Prototype for a Robot Chassis

Concept Design for the Final Show

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Client

Royal College of Art (Masters Research

Date

2019