May 28 – Applying Design Practice to Robotic Research

    28 May 2018 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    Tobacco Factory, Southville
    Bob Foster
    07989 412 319

    “What if the borders between humanity, technology, and nature are only in our mind?”

    Over the last 6 years, our speaker, David McGoran, has been leading Rusty Squid, a studio for experimental robotic art and design working with in the creative industry.

    His small team of engineers, designers and artists have been testing and refining unique design methodologies to create work that is culturally meaningful and emotionally effective.

    Come listen to the surprising successes and spectacular failures of years of applying design practice to robotic research.

    Design practice is rarely applied in robotics labs around the world. Large sums of cash are spent on very expensive machines and all too often the first time the engineers see how the public react is when the robots are complete… and they wonder why the robots aren’t being welcomed with open arms.


    This is especially true with robotics that are required to perform within the human social, emotional and cultural space. This space is famously hard to study scientifically; it remains more of an art than a science. While fields like evolutionary psychology and anthropology are starting to map out humanity’s social and emotional weather, the arts have been navigating this space effectively for many centuries.

    Creative and design studios over the centuries have evolved an arsenal of tools and traditions that are sadly overlooked by much of the scientific and research community.

    Over the course of more than 25 projects Rusty Squid have been experimenting with integrating these practices within their robotic research and development. Drawing on diverse creative disciplines from puppetry to product design, the team has been going back to firstprinciples and questioning the pathways and principles being used to develop the work. 

    Practices such as 3D sketching, Black Bagging, and Body Storming along with iterative prototyping, field testing and observation, allow the studio to catch assumptions, prejudice and beliefs and more reliably create work that is socially appropriate, culturally mindful, emotionally expressive.

    “We suspect that sometime in the next 20 years a company will emerge on a similar scale to PIXAR or Disney that uses robotic technology as its creative medium. This may not only be one of the largest industries of this century, but it will be a civilisation defining moment in history.

    It will be the Robotic Studios that invest in, test and refine a design process and practices that will flourish this century.”



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