November 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is an area of robotics called Lovotics!! This field attempts to achieve a genuine sense of love and attachment between people and robots. So happy right now…


A tale of two Furbies.

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have owned two Furbies in my life.

The first was a birthday present when I was 12 and Furbies had just arrived on the toy scene. The second ( I am slightly ashamed to admit) was my Christmas present at the age of 21. (there is extensive documentation of my 21 year old self tearing through the packaging on Christmas morning, which actually devalued the object significantly so I’m told. whoops.) My experience with Furby no. 1 was standard to that of most electronic pets. It had a few days worth of novelty appeal before we locked it in a cupboard never to be activated again. At the time Furbies were everywhere, just another electronic product that failed to live up to its promise. 10 years later it was a collectors item (especially the gizmo one) and obtaining one involved purchase from an online nostalgia toyshop. I think differently about this Furby, it is a piece of design, a moment in the evolution of technology and  in my own history and life story. I had no qualms about dissecting the first Furby during the first wave of my inquisitive robot obsession, but couldn’t imagine destroying the second. So many outside factors effect our relationship to objects. Even two Furbies that are essentially exactly the same can be viewed and treated in a completely different way when impressed upon by time and circumstance, one was an expendable piece of consumer culture, the other, a treasured artifact that is imbued with meaning beyond its basic companion function. I am still me, but my knowledge and understanding of the physical world changes and allows me to see old Furbies in new ways.

Hobby love.

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is my Knitting machine. I love it.

This was my fourth year sculpture project. It is a children’s toy knitting machine that I modified and motorised. Making this was a hideous ordeal which involved buckets of tears and more money than I care to think about. To me (and my non-existent electrical skills), this was a feat of engineering that made me miserable for several weeks of my life. For some sadistic reason, I had decided that a part of this work would be a performance where I spent 12 hours straight monitoring the machine while it knitted piles of wool into a never ending tube. As time passed and the machine kept working, I felt increasingly proud, it became a bonding experience, I alone knew how to fix jams and untangle mistakes. After two years, the knitting machine still goes and I am always proud to say, “I made that”. On the other hand if the whole thing had failed miserably I would have undoubtably ended up in an ultimate shame spiral, vowing to never attempt something mechanical again. In DIY the successes and failures are felt ten-fold.

My favourite quote today.

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

“How will my toaster ever get better, making toast the way I prefer, unless it has some pride?”

-Donald A Norman Emotional Design

Another highlight:

“The actions of a kitten or human baby may be judged fun and cute, but the very same actions performed by a cat or human adult can be judged irritating or disgusting.”

Where Am I?

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