Posts from the Automata Category

[Draft Proposal for Automata Finals]


The Tectonicus is an automaton that responds in real-time to earthquakes occurring all over the planet.


Personal curiosity to realize how many tectonic plate movements occur in a day and how the ground that we feels to be strong and sturdy is actually floating around on the Asthenosphere.


  • Keeping the look and feel of the outcome autonomous and classic. In other words, even if at some point it is responding to a particular event, it should appear that it does so on its own accord and is not being told to do so by a microcontroller or any other device.
  • Keeping it small.


  • To be obtained as ATOM or GeoJSON feeds which are updated every 5 minutes from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake web service.

Possible iterations-

  1. Person shaking and falling depending on the magnitude of the quake.
  2. A world map on which a person with a hammer hangs. He jumps and hits the hammer to the location where the Earthquake occurs (location specific).
  3. A globe producing certain kind of an anthropomorphic response in any Earthquake occurrence event (neither location nor magnitude specific).
  4. A liquid container with the world map as it bottom. The liquid ripples near the epicenters. (location and magnitude specific
  5. A set of hammers hitting a hard clay block (again magnitude specific).
+ high-res version

Making a Timid Box

The idea of a timid box originally nested from the notion of a living hockey puck which gets hit hard frequently and so is afraid of humans in general. The following is a 3D render of the first concept. It roams around slowly and conspicuously in areas of the room and immediately hides its top shelf having its eyes if it detects danger.


[This post is for personal documentation purposes only and may not be self explanatory]

This is an alternative method for a achieving a three dimensional actuation using only two motors. I am using a solenoid for switching between two different planes of motion (say x-y and y-z).

Required –

  • 2 Bipolar Stepper Motors 12V/350mA (I prefer a minimum torque of 0.2 Nm)
  • 2 lead screws with shaft couplers.
  • 2 pairs of rails with grips and brushes.
  • 1 solenoid for interlocking and switching planes of motion.

Disadvantages –
The motion is not a continuous 3D motion and the speed is much slower as compared to an xyz-gantry using 3 motors. In this setup, it is impossible to travel from point (x1, y1, z1) to (x2, y2, z2). Instead it travels as follows –  (x1, y1, z1) -> (x2, y2, z1) -> (x2, y2, z2).

2D 3D actuation

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