dorkbot -> dorkbot-atl -> March 9, 2006

Thursday, March 9, 2006 at 7 p.m.

Georgia Tech Music Department (Couch Building)

Directions are here.

Ellen Do
Exploring Physical Computing

Advances in micro-controller and communication technologies have led to a new wave of embedding computation in physical artifacts and environments. As architects with a background in computing, the intersection between the physical and computation has sparked our imagination and driven us to explore the relationship. We refer to these explorations as "physical computing" which overlaps other paradigms: ubiquitous, wearable, tangible, invisible, etc., computing. By physical computing we mean systems that incorporate both material and computational media, perhaps, for example, employing mechanical and electronic systems for the creation and exploration of interfaces for computationally enhanced objects and spaces.

Ellen Yi-Luen Do recently joined the faculty in College of Architecture & College of Computing at Georgia Tech from Carnegie Mellon University. She is committed to building better design tools, from understanding the human intelligence involved in the design process and leading to the improvement of the interface with computers. Her research explores new modalities of communication, collaboration, and coordination, as well as the physical and virtual worlds that push the current boundaries of computing environments for design.

Douglas Bakkum
Phil Gamblen
Guy Ben Ary

MEART – The Semi Living Artist” is a geographically detached, bio-cybernetic research and development project exploring aspects of creativity and artistry in the age of new biological technologies from both artistic and scientific perspectives. It is an installation distributed between two locations in the world. Its “brain” consists of cultured nerve cells that grow in a neuro-engineering lab, in Atlanta. Its “body” is a robotic drawing arm that is capable of producing two-dimensional drawings. The “brain” and the “body” communicate in real time with each other for the duration of an exhibition.

MEART is assembled from:
  • “Wetware” – neurons from embryonic rat cortex grown over a Multi Electrode Array.
  • “Hardware” – the robotic arm
  • “Software” – that interfaces between the wetware and the hardware.
  • The Internet is used to mediate between its components and overcome its geographical detachment.

MEART suggests future scenarios where humans will create/grow/manufacture intuitive and creative “thinking entities” that could be intelligent and unpredictable beings. They may be created by humans for anthropocentric use, but as they will be creative and unpredictable they might not necessarily stay the way they were originally intended. MEART’s behavior and the activity of the nerve cells are subject to a scientific investigation of the biological basis of learning, memory, and creativity.

Douglas Bakkum Born in USA, lived in Slovakia and France. Received a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering which provided insight into the workings of the physical world, but he is now interested in the workings of the mind and its perception of the physical world. Currently a doctoral student in the Bioengineering Department at Georgia Tech under the guidance of Steve Potter. Interested in embodying cultured neurons with robots to study the importance of environment in the processes of neural networks.

Phil Gamblen Born in England, trained and worked as a gem cutter in Canada before moving to Australia and migrating into the arts where he graduated with a Honours Degree in Fine Art (sculpture). Specialises in the use of mechanics, electronics, and robotics to create kinetic art. Current artworks utilise motion and light to investigate technological aspects of today’s culture, the overlap of art and science and the re-use of obsolete and discarded materials. The physical forces and structures within nature are of great interest to him and are a constant reference in his work.

Guy Ben Ary: Artist, working in the area of art & biology. Currently living and working in WA. Artist in resident in SymbioticA – The Art & Science Collaborative Lab. Specializes in microscopy, biological & digital imaging & artistic visualization of biological data. His Main research area is cybernetics and the interface of biological material to robotics. Member of the group that developed “MEART - the semi living artist”. Collaborated with the Tissue Culture & Art Project for 4 year. He is also on the development of a new project titled the “living screen” – Investigating the interface between BioArt & Film theory.

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