My father used to take me to the Design Museum in London when I was a child: he was a graphic designer and deeply passionate about typography and all other things design-related. I have fond memories of those visits.
When visiting The Boston Build Space a few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet with Madeline Gannon, who (it turns out) was working on an upcoming exhibit for the newly relocated Design Museum (it’s moving from Butlers Wharf to Kensington High Street, and Madeline’s exhibit will be one helping inaugurate the new space in an exhibition entitled “Fear and Love”).
Back in the day Madeline was an “artist in residence” on Pier 9, and worked closely with David Thomasson and the rest of OCTO’s Applied Research Lab there. I’ve followed her work since seeing this video of her “taming” an industrial robot:
Madeline’s latest project, Mimus, brings human traits to an otherwise imposing industrial machine. Anthromorphising robots – or at least making them more approachable – is going to be a major trend in the years to come. So while Madeline’s project is essentially artistic, I also consider it to be significant. While at rest the robot appears to be breathing, and otherwise reacts to your presence, moving to follow you around (within limits… there are plenty of safety cut-offs in place, for obvious reasons).
As I’d brought my HoloLens, I took the chance to view my HoloLens robot next to its physical sibling, which was really fun. It did make me realise I had to adjust the scale, though: it was probably 80% of the size it needed to be, and even though you can double or halve its scale, it still didn’t look right. Hopefully that’s now been fixed.
Here’s a quick animation of Mimus at work. It’s part of a longer video I recorded, but I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder.
I was really impressed by the work Madeline has done for this exhibit and fully recommend getting across to the Design Museum to see it (I’ll be doing my best to get there, myself).