Asked — Edited

I'M Proud Of Myself

I've been trying to figure out of I can get the sitter of [whatever gallery] iRobot ends up in to occasionally re-center the head to save servo wear and tear and the slightly annoying noise it makes to keep its position after tracking (is this a run-on sentence?). And then I remembered this is a robot! Lol. I found and added the script to center the servo after tracking and it works great. Thanks for adding this functionality, DJ! I realize this may not be a huge deal for most of you folks but I'm kind of tickled with myself.


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A couple of notes:

  1. The face-video is much more visible in person. My phone-camera doesn't pick that up very well.

  2. I covered the servo motor in dynamat (left over from my classic car). It helped with the noise quite a bit. Of course I had to grind out the servo housing at the top of the spine (a white-knuckle experience).

  3. The binder-clip handles are removed for display. They are barely noticeable that way.

  4. Am I understanding that, through the scripts, I can have to camera shoot video as it tracks a viewer and save the file to my computer? Any right to privacy violations there? It would be cool if I could then have that video emailed to the Nook (behind the face) and displayed. I might be reaching with this one. blush


Not sure if it would be useful to you in your project here, but sometimes I use springs or elastic surgical tubing in my projects. For example to say centre the head of my robot. That way when I release servo power my robot's head automatically centres itself without needing servo power to hold it there... Just a thought.... Good work:)


Yeah Richard, I saw your post about that somewhere. I thought it was an interesting idea and I like the thought of iRobot having tendons:D


Regarding recording. Yes it can record.

I am not a lawyer, but I used to do a lot of photography and read a book on photography and the law.

You can video whatever you want on your property or public property, or private property where you have permission (in general, if permission isn't specifically prohibited, it is allowed).

You can't publish video of people without a signed model release except when reporting news or a few other specific cases of public benefit (art unfortunately not being one of those cases).



The interesting thing here is the word publish. Does posting to anywhere outside your immediate physical control (cloud storage) constitute publishing? This is where things get cloudy...

If you controlled your own email server, it wouldn't be a problem I wouldn't suspect, but if you use a service provider, I think there could be legal issues. The digital world is getting very tricky to navigate.


Yup, too much trouble. Lol.


@Mac, You should be proud. This is a huge accomplishment. Very nice work. Like I said before I'm really interested in your work here. Not only is it visually stunning (I really appreciate your artistic style) but you're doing something with movement tracking I want to do. Years ago in the EZB version 3 era I was messing around with movement tracking and gave up because of less than stellar results. I had the old EZ Robot's camera mounted up in my B9 Robot's bubble. The idea was to swing the radar and bubble section back and forth to follow movement passing in front of the robot. It's worked somewhat OK but would get confused when lights reflected on the inside of the plastic bubble. The software would swing the radar section back towards the flash reflection. Totally understandable as it thought it was movement and a fail on my part. DJ suggested mounting the camera on a fixed part of the robot but I got overwhelmed with other parts of the rogot build, tore the camera circuit out and moved on.

Face forward around 4 years and I'm soon to be back to that point again. I have high hopes that my new V4/2 EZB and the newer camera offered along with mounting it on a fixed part of the B9 will give me this ability. I'm hoping to get smooth movement of both the head mounted radar and but also the robot's waist as people walk past. Your effort here has given me back that hope. Thanks. :D

I don't mean to hijack your thread here in any way so forgive me if I do. However I thought you would enjoy seeing a vid of my failed efforts in movement tracking "way back in the beginning". :P Here ys go:


No hijack worries, my friend. I don't roll that way:) And once again, thanks for the kind comments. Coming from you, it means a lot!

I think tracking still has a long way to go before it's really useful. Especially motion tracking. I have found that face tracking works best (in my case) but again, a viewer will need to have their face in just the right spot, always keep their face looking directly at the sculpture's face, and can't move too quickly or they'll jump off camera. This isn't directed at EZ-Robot in any way. I've found it's most (or all) systems. If I simply need to turn on a switch when any motion is detected, then great. But to track motion means, what motion? Which motion? Lighting motion (like in your case)? And color tracking would be great if it was still the 1970s but everyone today wears black and dark brown. How do you program for that?! And multiple color tracking jumps around from color to color, sometimes violently. Again, this isn't anyone's fault. The outside world is just really complex. I'll have to be careful that, if iRobot gets in some art exhibits, it doesn't face anyone's self portrait, lol. I'm lucky though. Since I'm making an artwork about robotics and not trying to innovate new robotic systems, I can just say "well, this is the current state of the technology" and get away with it.

So, I go back to school tomorrow. It's been a great sabbatical and I'm sorry to see it end. I'm looking forward to seeing my students and being in the classroom but I have to admit; the BS has gotten really deep. It sometimes seems like my supervisors do everything they can to keep me too busy to teach. Sorry, just venting. I spent my last day making a new face video for the sculpture. I'll get a youtube up soon.


Hi Mac,

Great project ! I really enjoy it and look forward to the future video.

Just a thought and potential replacement for the clips. I have mounted two flat items together using plastic tubing which is split down the length of it. I slide the split end over the two edges which holds them together. If more security is needed, I silicone or hot glue the split to the surfaces. It has worked well for me. This way, unless there is reason for the clips, the clips can be removed. Just a suggestion, and opinion. Your artistic abilities are appreciated and enjoyed.



Hey Andy, I actually tried that, lol. Great minds. The issue was that the in order for the tubing to reach, and secure, the face-plate, I had to use one-inch I.D. tubing which stuck out like a sore thumb. I looked at a lot of different options but the binder clips just work the best (for now). You can't see it in the vid but I took a dremel and modified their shape. With the silver handles removed, you wouldn't really know what they were unless told (but a keen eye and a little time would figure it out). What I really don't like is that those little handles are a PIA to get off on back on. I looked into rooting the Nook to bypass the swipe=screen (when first turned on) but that didn't seem to be an option. Thanks for the kudos, dude:)


Unfortunately, they are still pretty expensive even on the used market, but you might be better off with something like a Nexus 7 2013 instead of a Nook. Full Android rather than crippled by B&N, easily rooted if you need additional control, about the same size.



Yeah, Alan, I'm considering upgrading the Nook but there are personal reasons for using it. Not the least of which is that my wife was a B&N store manager for many years. It was also the unit I used to read a ton of books. One of my reasons for making these sculptures, The Classics, is that I had a pretty good case of dyslexia when I was young and could barely read. I learned to deal with the dyslexia by reading [mostly] H.G. Wells. I'm hoping to inspire people to read. A few years back The War of the World was at a gallery in Chicago and I was being grilled by a 7 year old boy about the piece. When he was done he grabbed his mother's arm and said "come on, we gotta get to a book store". I got kinda' choked up. Lol. Also, it would be really stinking hard to change out that tablet!

But thanks for the tip.


Wow, great story. I can see why you would want to make it work.