SCI-Arc Summer 2016 Applied Studies

Mechanical Sidekicks “Strange companions”

Prof. Ivan Bernal

“A sidekick is a slang expression for a close companion or colleague (not necessarily in fiction) who is actually, or generally regarded as, subordinate to the one he accompanies”

In many cases, a sidekick’s role is to serve as an enabler, that, which encourages and motivates the main character in their quest. This course examines the potential of robotic assemblies and rigging techniques to produce, generate and represent design intentions in a physical and digital environment. Taking advantage of a single platform, students would be introduced to the tools necessary to help them postulate, analyze, develop and present their design ideas with the use of mechanical sidekicks. Step 1: Rigging: Rooted in animation tools and inverse kinematics, the class would create rigged skeletons in an effort to produce behaviors as a way to set their ideas in time and challenge the notion of a static design. Mutation, Postures, Deformations, and Contortions, would be injected into the rigged sidekicks. This step would provide feedback and yield aspects and opportunities to expand in the physical environment.  The goal is to produce a series of studies in which students are asked to evaluate their Riggs from the design point of view, with the goal of critically understanding the variations produced using animation techniques.   Step 2: Assemblies: Physical assemblies produced using digital fabrication methods such as laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3d printing would be employed as the skeletons migrate from the digital environment into a physical table. Taking advantage of the flexibility of this system and its tendency for disruption, students are expected to rearrange, reposition and reconstruct their project to test the limits of the systems they have created and to quickly react to the feedback generated by this transitions. Step 3. Linking and expressions. The Final output would not only rely on the visualization of the behavior but would also introduce dynamic skeletons to recreate and investigate such behavior in physical models. With a link between Arduino and Maya to control servos linking them to skeleton joints, students could expand their design criteria in an investigation of the physicality and materiality of their projects as the translation from the computer to their desk would take place, allowing them to compare and overlay the digital and the physical. This juxtaposition would generate a tension in which student would examine the results, catalog them and insert them back to their digital models to inform and reiterate the process.

Students: Majeda Alhinai, Polina Alexeeva, Ana Derby, Anhuar Farah, David Ho, Vermouth Hu, Alexander KalliorasCharmaine LamHongyang-Stanley LinMatias Lopez, Sara Milani, Gurhan Pekuz, Junjie Guo.