BA Modelmaking graduate Roseanne Wakely marks Bristol City Library’s 400th Anniversary with an interactive art robotics installation.

Roseanne and puppeteer David McGorin work as art robotics group Rusty Squid. The group explores the emotional qualities of movement, creating objects that respond to humans through sensor technology, novel actuator mechanisms, and advanced programming.

For Bristol City Library, the country’s second oldest library, they have created Book Hive — a honeycomb wall of animated real books that respond to passers-by with a range of gestures from a nervous flutter to a rolling wave of pages.

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Some years ago the Modelmaking Course identified social and emotional robotics as an emerging industry that offered many opportunities well-matched to the skill-set of graduates. In 2008, two students were placed to work with the Bristol University Robotics Group developing the ‘Heart’ robot, a research platform to explore the emotional qualities of human-machine interaction. ‘Heart’ was featured in a one-day robotics event at London’s Science Museum, and appeared on worldwide TV news.

The placement came out of a one-day social and emotional robotics symposium at Bristol’s Waterside Media Centre, organised in 2007 by BA Modelmaking tutor Andrew J King and science writer and producer Piers Bizony.

The installation was officially launched on Sunday 16 February and was featured on BBC Points West (skip through to 22’30” to see it!).