Format 1: 202 x 132 cm / 79.5 x 52 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 102 x 67 cm / 40.2 x 26.3 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made aluminium frame
“starbot HR4DSE“ pictures the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. NASA and the University of Edinburgh are currently collaborating on a very ambitious futuristic project: to build an autonomous humanoid robot for future deep space exploration on Mars. One of the great visions of our time is to make us a bi-planetary species in future. A key requirement to make this happen is the development of robotic technology for pre-deployment of assets on another planet, maintaining and repairing facilities as well as creating capability that allows robotic helpers to co-work with human astronauts. One important issue here is the level of machine autonomy which needs to combine the precision and accuracy of robots with the contextual decision-making capabilities of humans. NASA´s humanoid robot is 170cm tall, and weighs 120kg. It is bipedal or capable of walking on two legs which makes it very agile as well challenging to control. All its joints are driven by very powerful electric motors and it features an on-board high density battery and three state of the art computers, making it capable of fully autonomous behaviours. The on-board computers receive all sensor information, process it and make decisions about the next step the robot should take, sending appropriate commands to the individual joints.
The artwork “starbot HR4DSE “ shows the humanoid robot in all its technical precision and motion abilities combined with the output of the robot’s 3D scanning processes, the point cloud which provides the robot with a digital elevation model of the terrain and allows it to move autonomously in its surroundings. It is equipped with a range of sensors including stereo cameras, touch sensors, torque sensors and scanning lasers. All of these are used to sense the world in depth, colour and force. The robot was portrayed by the artist at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics; the point cloud surrounding the robot is the virtual reconstruction of the test-laboratory based on the robot´s scan data. The work also raises a critical human concern: how much autonomy should we grant the robots which will share our daily lives in future?