OK, here it goes. I have been working on this baby for almost two years now, and as expected gone through various iterations, failed solutions (the best for learning! etc. )I think I will start from the beginning because the process to me is more interesting than any final product.
I suspect most robotic projects don't go deep into symbolism, ethics and such, so my project might at times seem more than a little weird, but bear with me, it will all make (some) sense at the end.
The original concept stem from, what else, laziness. My wife an I had been performing a theatre piece she created where I manipulated a 15 feet puppet on stage. It was a lot of fun for the audience but sort of a bummer to me because I could never see the performance. So I decided that I would roboticize the puppet and make it autonomous so I could just sit and relax watching the show Yeah, right!
This is the original stage design for the robotic option. The picture of the big puppet is actually from a performance, as is the human performer (my wife Lorena) so you can see the scale.
This was presented at an international theatre festival in 2003 http://teatronuestro.com/html/taller_suenos.html
I wanted to keep all the mechanisms and controls visible and not hide them as it is usual in theatre or film.
Since I wanted this robot to be autonomous I had to restrict the environment or "world" where this could happen. So in this case my design started with the environment or spatial enclosure where the character would have a fair degree of autonomy.Since I am interested in symbols and how they are used to control our actions, I decided to use a Metatron (מיטטרון) as the floor plan.
As the Performer moves about the Metatron and intersects or interferes with certain points, colors, directions of travel etc. the Creator (that is the name of the marionette) interprets it and (hopefully) reacts accordingly.
The geometry of the Metatron is used as a computable control surface to determine the position of the Creature at all times. This positional information is used among other things to control the gaze of the Creator and respond to the actions of the Performer.
There is a primary and secondary color coding that on the one hand simbolizes the nature of communication between the Creator and its Creature, that of the wavelenghts of light, which act as channels of information.
The external circles represent the limits of the world both physical and as a symbolic construct. There is nothing beyond those limits but the void, the forbidden territory.
For those interested in "sacred geometry", the Metatron is like a two-dimensional expression of a Tesseract http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesseract
Think of this geometry a little bit like the cell tower structure that enables mobile communications by triangulating your location, except in my case, the visual representation of the Metatron itself is what I used to define "areas of influence" that would trigger certain behaviors of the marionette depending on where the human performer was at the moment.
I will stop here for now. I am actually not sure if the images are visible since the "preview" function does not display them so let's see.