Seminar: Netze, Rundgang 2013

Walking robot with only two motors


Georg Trogemann, Christian Faubel, Clemens Kujawski, David Hahlbrock.

Basic seminar in SS 2013.
Wednesdays, 16 – 18 h
Filzengraben 8 – 10, Lab3.

Essential part of the seminar, beside several theoretical lectures about networks, was the assembly of 5 walking machines. The hexapod spider was developed in parallel to the seminar. The goal was to get a cheap and freely programmable walker that only needs 2 motors for controlling the complex movement of a six legged walker. One motor controls the direction of the walker, the second the movement of the legs. Christian Faubel did the arduino programming on basis of our lab3 shield. The development of the mechanics (which was partly reverse engineering of a toy spider), the 2D and 3D modeling for the laser cutter and the 3D printer was done by David Hahlbrock and me. Equipped with several ultrasonic senors the spiders were able to „see“ their environment and react to obstacles. The aim for the seminar was to understand networks in a very material sense. We were able to show that complex behavior of a group of spiders emerges from very simple reaction patterns of the single spider. The network of spiders seemed to cooperate and behave in complex ways. The spiders were also part of the lab3 exhibition during the open days of the KHM in July 2013 when they have been walking around at the campus interacting with the visitors. Later on Johanna Faber developed the project „The Alvedarans“ (2014) on basis of the 5 spiders.

Announcement text of the seminar
Webs are filigree, mostly dynamic spatiotemporal structures. They are defined primarily by their interstices rather than by imperial occupation of territory. In systems theory, ’net‘ refers to a set of loosely connected, autonomous objects that only manifest themselves as a network through their interdependence and permanent exchange. Both, material objects and symbol systems can form networks, their formation can be natural or artificial. Networks thus also seem particularly suitable for overcoming the historical split between nature and technology – between the given and the made. We will explore the concept of networks using current electronic communication technologies and also look at how the nature of electromagnetic waves can be used to imprint information on them using increasingly sophisticated methods, thus realizing the increasing interconnectedness of the most diverse things in our everyday lives. However, the current technologies of wireless electronic communication will not be the focus of our considerations, but our focus will be especially on the general principles of networks. For example, complex behavior patterns can be generated even with a small number of simple networked units. Such phenomena will be made tangible by means of topographic maps, which are formed according to principles of self-organization, using various communication technologies and robotics. The constructions and configurations we want to investigate have the function of epistemic objects, with the help of which we try to understand fundamental mechanisms of networking. The nodes and meshes of the networks will be as much a subject as their holes, which represent what the networks miss. The seminar is thematically connected and complementary to the seminar „The Net does not need us“ (Thurs. 14.00 – 17.00 h, seminar room Kunst- und Medienwissenschaft). In particular two joint events with guests are planned.