Assignment 11

This assignment — an AUTOMATON — is due Monday, November 10th.

(It is the second-to-last assignment; after this, your final project will be due.)

  • You may work in pairs, and are encouraged to do so.
  • This is a very good time to learn how to use the laser cutter.

Assignment: Make an automaton or other kinetic artwork. It should have an expressive behavior (or behaviors). Optionally, you may use one passive sensor (such as a photocell) to allow it to respond to the viewer’s proximity.

As previously detailed, your project should have the usual:

  • A blog post, properly categorized;
  • A video demonstrating your project working, uploaded to YouTube, embedded in the blog post.
  • Furthermore, for projects requiring creative design (e.g. not just executing a tutorial), please also include in your blog post:
    1. A written narrative of 150-200 words, describing and evaluating your goals, process and results. Include a discussion of the roles you each assumed, if you worked with a partner.
    2. A scan of your hand-drawn sketches
    3. A photograph of your finished project
    4. A Fritzing diagram of your circuit
    5. Your source code, embedded using the WP-Syntax WordPress plugin (for proper syntax-colored formatting)


  • Try to imagine making a sculpture, in which the interesting thing is how it moves (or behaves), and not necessarily how it looks.
  • Does your project go through a specific sequence of motions on a schedule? Or is it interactive, thus responding in a contingent way to variable conditions? (Both are fine).
  • Is your project’s movement organic? Is there a way to control its movement, through code, to make it moreso?
  • What is the concept behind your work: Is it figurative? Abstract?
  • Do you achieve apparent complexity with simple means? (I.e., can you use just a small number of motors to control a deceptively interesting system)?

Some important resources:

More on 4-bar linkages , converting rotary to linear motion, continuous to intermittent motion, etc.


Posted in