Mass. -- It's the promise of seeing robots doing interesting
things -- such as re-enact the classic story of the tortoise
and the hare -- that attracts upward of 150 people each
year to the annual Robotic Design Studio exhibition at Wellesley
College. Similar in format to an art opening, student teams
will exhibit the robots they have designed during a for-credit
course taught between semesters (called Wintersession).
The exhibition will take place Thursday, January 25, from
4:30 until 6 pm in the Sage Lounge (2nd floor) of the Science
Center on the Wellesley College campus. This year's projects
can be viewed on the class website by clicking [here].
interdisciplinary physics and computer science course --
more popularly called Robotic
Design Studio -- was started five years ago by Robert
Berg, associate professor of physics, and Franklyn
Turbak, assistant professor of computer science. The
pair imagined a robotics course that would not only teach
the technical engineering side of design, but also would
incorporate the aesthetic.
Berg noted that the open-ended nature of the assignment,
in which students can work together to define a problem
and then come up with the solution, allows for collaborative
experimentation and creativity. This is in contrast to the
more competitive model used by MIT's Design 2.70 in which
every student works within the same parameters and then
a winner is selected.
a result, Berg said Wellesley students' designs tend to
have more of narrative element -- such as the tortoise and
the hare -- that blurs the line between art and science.
Examples of some memorable robots from years past include:
western-style cowboy duel, complete with saloon doors
and campy western music and a "row-bot" that could row across
water using a clap sensor designed by another student.
are welcome to attend, including reporters and photographers.