The Glaucus

The Glaucus is a soft robotic quadruped composed of a single seamless silicone part. It has a complex network of interior channels, created via a lost wax process, that turn into actuators when pressurized with air. It’s able to walk with a diagonal gait, similar to a gecko or Glaucus Atlanticus sea slug, using only two input channels.

quad_03The Glaucus was created to demonstrate a method for fabricating soft robots of nearly any geometry with arbitrary interior structures. It’s been my goal, since beginning my research into soft robotics, to simplify the process of prototyping and refining designs. Often the barrier between an interesting bench prototype and practical application is how it scales into production. If methods for experimenting with the core concepts, evaluating them in a context that represents their final manufactured state, and refining them for mass production don’t exist, the idea is very likely to languish on the bench. Continue reading

Gold Leaf Graffiti

Remember, remember... this microwave runs hot so don't burn your popcorn.

Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been out and about animating a big new thing for the big new Disney store in Time Square. It’s half awesome and half awful. If you’re ever in that neighborhood and happen to glance Disney-ward (not that I’d recommend it) you’ll be able to decide for yourself.

In the meantime, I was able to hit NYC Resistor with @glukkake for Craft Night and made some progress on a project that’s been bubbling between us for the past week or two: Gold Leaf Graffiti. I can’t go on enough about how awesome the Resistors are, how I need to spend oodles more time there, and how much I adore laser cutting.

This squid feels quite at home on a pizza box, as pizzas and squids go together like inappropriate innuendo and your mom.

So, glukkake and I came up with this idea in tandem. The whole thing goes like this: gold leaf is usually applied with a mild adhesive called size. Most often this is painted on, but it can just as easily be sprayed or applied with a roller. We thought: “Laser cutters make stencils well. We’ve got spray adhesive. What mischief can we get up to?” So, after a few tries and some blobby sticky messes, we’ve got the process down to a science.

Pretty soon we’re going to be bringing the process to your local bar’s bathroom stall, the side of your school, and the subway. Watch out, because your world’s about to get fancy.

Steampunk Daguerreotype Speakers

Daguerreotypes are early silver photographs. They’re made by light from a lens subtly changing the reflectivity of the very outer surface of the metal on a polished silver plate. Though they’re beautiful, I thought I could get the effect in a much simpler manner.

These prints were actually made by laser etching the back of mirrored sheets enough to distort the reflective film, but not to cut through it. The result is the holographic, illusory image you see here. Continue reading