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For immediate release:
January 24, 2001


Mary Ann Hill
(781) 283-2373

WELLESLEY, 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].

The 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.

Professor 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.

As 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: a 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.

All are welcome to attend, including reporters and photographers.


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  • Office of Public Information
  • Date Created: July 30, 2001
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