Digital Culture Speaker Series: Expressive Robotics/Animated Spaces
Bio: Dr. Byron Lahey is an artist, educator and engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Northern Iowa, his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Arizona State University and his media arts and science PhD from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University. His dissertation, A Maker's Mechanological Paradigm, Seeing Experiential Media Systems as Structurally Determined, integrates his perspectives as a sculptor and responsive media producer with philosophical perspectives on “technical objects” and the structures that result in systems being in an organizational state we identify as living.
Lahey teaches in the Digital Culture program at ASU, specializing in physical computing. He is the director of the DC Lounge and the DC Incubator. He has worked as a researcher in the Synthesis Center at ASU under the direction of Dr. Sha Xin Wei. He lead the production and evaluation of Paperphone under the direction of Roel Vertegaal at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University. Byron has taught at Arizona State University, Western Washington University and Phoenix Country Day School. He was a member of The Studio at SIGGRAPH from 2002 to 2013, producing and leading workshops and activities in wearable computing, experimental sound, video and other media. He has worked as a teacher, professional sculptor, multimedia artist, programmer, consultant, fabricator and engineer in academic and commercial realms. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA Space Grant and the Ford Foundation.
Abstract: Expressive robotics is not a subset of traditional robotics research or engineering. Expressive robotics is a description of systems that exist at the fuzzy intersection of arts and robotics. The phrase presents an alternative paradigm to more conventional perspectives of robots and art. Robotics engineering practices and technologies serve as both inspiration and foil for expressive robotics research.
Lahey will present expressive robotics examples from his own practice, including precursors from his career as a sculptor. He will highlight projects from other artists and engineers in an effort to sketch some boundaries and emphasize the potential frontiers of expressive robotics. Material computation will be illustrated as a complementary mode of logical processing to those methods commonly used today. The pros and cons of analog sensors, signal chains and actuators will be discussed with an emphasis on their expressive range and robustness. The concept of plurifunctionality will be presented as a design/engineering objective in the context of structurally determined systems.