Sonic Degrees of Freedom

ARS Electronica Festival 2016 “Radical atoms and the alchemists of our time”

sonic Degrees of Freedom is an audiovisual environment, that brings together the digital with analogue, and physical with virtual, turning a “collaborative” robot into a complex controller for the audio visual environment, dancing your sound piece.

“Degrees of Freedom”, as term, is used in robotics to name areas, ranges of free movement in respect of the robotic laws, while in sociology for example it is more a concept or value, on rigidness vs freedom within societies. The robotic laws proposed by Isaac Asimov center on the idea that robots are supposed to be acting in favor of humans, avoiding any damage to humanity.

“SdoF” is set as an environment, where one can dance a tune with the robot, teaching in realtime all the 7 degrees of freedom, or sequentially one after the other, thus producing data concerning to the moves taken, which instantaneously influence the soundscape in the area, which again influences the mapping projections. Interestingly, moves performed with all axis at once need full concentration on one’s motion, thus the recorded movements become more and more organic in shape, the more one gets into interaction with robot leaving pure programming for intuitive performing. 

It links a collaborative KUKA LBR iiwa robotic arm with an analogue synthesizer system, so that the highly complex kinematics of this robotic arm directly inform and generate soundscapes, turning kinematic movement into an electrical current.
The thus generated voltage acts as an interactive audio-input for the mapping installation that is projected onto the robotically fabricated, topographic panels, showing seamlessly mapped live-modulated waveforms triggered by the sound input.
The collaborative robot allows haptic interaction and recording of movement samples, which are then triggered through an interface.

Concept / Idea / Realization:

Johannes Braumann, Chris Noelle, Michael Schweiger

Johannes Braumann heads the laboratory for creative robotics at UfG Linz and co-founded Robots in Architecture.
Michael Schweiger is a professional sound artist and sonic thinker and leads the K2 Soundstudio at UFG Linz.
Chris Noelle is a multimedia artist and active in the fields of projection mapping, interactive design and lightpainting.
The chair for Individualized Production in Architecture at RWTH Aachen explores new robotic applications in the fields of design and construction.
Supported by KUKA Robotics CEE

Master of Robots: Johannes Braumann
Realtime Mapping of Sound related Visuals: Chris Noelle
Sounddesign, Soundscape, Title: Michael Schweiger
Kunstuniversiät Linz