The following article was written by Jon Bartschi.
The 36 (including seven girls) middle school students who participated in November’s Cyber Saturday in Columbia were treated to a very cool topic, “Creating Generative Designed Art, by Creating Drawing Robots.”
The term, “Generative Designed Art” refers to art that has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist.
This was a great way to tie in technology and creativity using artwork that is algorithmically determined, but can also be made using systems of chemistry, biology, mechanics and robotics, smart materials, manual randomization, mathematics, data mapping, symmetry, tiling, and more.
Students were introduced to the basics of electricity, and electrical circuits with the “littleBits” electronics kits. They were grouped into teams of three for collaboration and team building skills. Then, by using what they had learned, the “littleBits”, and various craft supplies, they were challenged to design a robotic devise able to create Generative Designed Artwork. They were given an allotted amount of time for planning, design, prototyping and testing. After their time was up, they were all judged by the staff of volunteers, and awarded in four categories for their efforts. A good time was had by all, as evidenced in the aftermath.