Digital Makers: Make a drawing robot
Do you think robots can be creative?
Artists have been using machines to create artworks for a long time. We are going to be inspired by Harold Cohen and his first computer drawings and make our own spider-like robot that draws.
Cohen investigated the use of computers as a creative tool in the 1960s. He created AARON, a computer program designed to produce art on its own.
Harold Cohen, Untitled Computer Drawing, 1982 © Harold Cohen
We are going to make a robot that draws! We are going to program an Arduino (this is a small computer, which can receive and send data). It is a little fiddly in places so you may need an adult to help you with it.
- Single core electrical wire reel
- Gaffer tape
- Counter weights
- Jumper weights
- 3v motor
- Motor mounts
- Motor horn arm
- Battery holder
- Decorations: feathers, pipe cleaners,
- White paper
Mztek made this detailed presentation [PDF, 3.4MB] on how to build your drawing robot. Print it out and go through the steps with an adult.
Here is an overview of the steps you need to take.
- Check out your Arduino – make sure you know where the digital pins are and how to power it.
- Get to grips with the software. Download the Arduino software and test it out.
- Upload the sensor code (pdf [53KB] or ino file [1.4KB]).
- Set up the breadboard and add in the motor.
- Add the legs. Wrap the sensor wires around the spider legs.
- Connect Arduino to the battery.
- Decorate your robot and add it in the pens to the end of the legs. Place some paper to the ground and send your robot for a spin!