Drawing machine #2 with support from Bristol Robotics Lab

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to gain support from the Robotics Innovation Facility which is part of the Bristol Robotics Lab. They have given me their time, expertise and advice to help me advance the original sound to pattern drawing machine I developed as a project for MA Design at UWE.

prototype machine that will make patterns from sound when it is working

prototype machine
that will make patterns from sound
when it is working

Making patterns out of sound

The original machine was cobbled together with timber from Scrapstore and a lot of bodging. I will be eternally grateful to James Ashwell and Sonny Lightfoot at UWE for nurturing me through the process of coding and building the first machine. It works like a graphic equaliser that shows lights for different frequencies but instead of lights, it moves motors. The resulting drawings are replicable and patterns are different depending on the music played into the machine. Because it was bodged together, the results were unpredictable and I got into trouble for making a mess in the art college. It did prove concept though.

lines from songs are on the underneath of these bowls thanks to Arduino

Sound to pattern drawing machine #2

Machine number 2 is going to be a very different story. I originally approached Bristol Robotics Lab to ask if they had a student who could help me make the prototype machine better. Instead, they offered me support via the SABRE programme, a research and innovation support initiative financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This ERDF-funded project provides business assistance and technological support to SMEs, helping them to deploy, or maximise their use of, robotics for automation.

Nathan Churchill and Shaun Jordan have been incredible and helped me reach a point with the drawing machine I had thought would be years away. With the thoughtfully provided shopping list I’ve been able to source the materials needed and I’ll be upgrading to beautifully extruded aluminium. I’m about to dive into the Arduino elements and learn how to code the new bits, with support. I’ll document the build on here in further posts.

I’m so grateful for everything that Shaun and Nathan have done for me. Without the support of SABRE I’d still be scrabbling around trying to make the best of the very bad job I did of the prototype. With the new machine I will be able to record sounds as lines and patterns, eventually merging with my ceramics work in my final project completing my MA in Fine Art(Ceramics) at Bath Spa.

I’m looking forward to being able to record multiple voices as lines, possibly exploring the 52 or so languages that are spoken in my area of Bristol. I’ll be able to work with musicians and poets, to record the ambient sound of museums, shops, train stations etc. And there is a commercial market in records of wedding vows and babies first words that will help me fund the next stages.

I really hope SABRE are kept funded. The work they do is incredible. As a very small enterprise with a tiny research and development budget there is no way I would have got this level of support from anywhere else.

SABRE is led by the University of the West of England, Bristol and is based in the Robotics Innovation Facility (RIFBristol) – part of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL).

This ERDF-funded project provides business assistance and technological support to SMEs, helping them to deploy, or maximise their use of, robotics for automation.

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The Tiny Art Gallery Manual

a book to help you run your own small gallery kindle and in print

a book to help you run your own small gallery kindle and in print

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