Since I'm going Robot crazy this week, I thought I'd show another project from a while back that I really like by another one of my favourite artists, Natalie Jeremijenko .
Feral robotics is an open source robotics project designed to enable distributed and co-located teams of lay participants to 'upgrade' low-end commercially available toys with chemical sensing equipment, additional microprocessor hardware to enable environmental data collection and coordinated flock (or pack) behavior. The adapted robots 'sniff out' environmental toxins, that is, they follow concentration gradients of toxins sensed by their dog's noses. Not dissimilar to popular robot wars events, this project instead involves the release of 'packs' of feral robotic dogs that are designed and modified for release on sites of community interest, including public parks, school grounds and industrial sites. This creates mediagenic events, coverage, and discussion on contaminants in the local environments.
Because the dogs display concentration information through their movement, the exploration engages people who may otherwise find the scientific information illegible.