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friday :: february 17, 2006
feral robotic: bridging robotics with pervasive location based public authoring

Successful field trial of a public authoring feral robot. The robot combines air quality and carbon dioxide sensor and a GPS unit with WiFi communications to upload its geo-referenced readings to the Urban Tapestries platform. Over the next 2 months they will be developing a web interface to allow for more sophisticated visualisation and interrogation of robot sensor readings, and combining them with local knowledge uploaded to Urban Tapestries by people in the area.

Social Tapestries is a research programme exploring the potential benefits and costs of local knowledge mapping and sharing, what they have termed the public authoring of social knowledge. Over the next few years Proboscis will be developing a series of experimental uses of public authoring to demonstrate the social and cultural benefits of local knowledge sharing enabled by mobile and network technologies. These playful and challenging experiments build upon the Urban Tapestries framework and software platform developed by Proboscis and its partners.

The aim is to bridge the experimental robotics field with that of pervasive location based public authoring. The collaboration is intended to investigate the possibilities for artists and engineers to develop compelling new forms of social and cultural intervention that can be adopted and adapted by ordinary people, using the tools and materials available to them.

Proboscis and Natalie Jeremijenko are collaborating to jointly explore intersections between their current work, specifically Proboscis' Urban Tapestries platform and Natalie Jeremijenko's Feral Robots. Natalie Jeremijenko's experimental robotics projects reconfigure low cost robots that are sold as consumer toys into vehicles of social and cultural activism. Her workshops have explored the possibilities of robotics breaking out of the academic lab and using the economies of scale of consumer manufacturers to put sophisticated equipment into the hands of the general public. Her project has developed a series of kits which adapt the toy robots into powerful sensing devices for locating and identifying chemical pollution and radiation.

Combining these two modes of social and cultural exploration will form the basis of the Visiting Fellowship: aiming to leverage the practical, hands-on approach of 'hobbyist' robotics with the ability to annotate specific geo-locations. Our aim is to design and create practical applications of such 'creative misuse' of commercially available technologies for social and cultural public benefit. >from *Robotic Feral Public Authoring site*.

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> the sensor revolution. march 2, 2004

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