Simen Johan

My father stood in my home office a few days ago, and declared that all my art was “a little scary.” He’s right, of course, except that in truth I hold back from buying a lot more weird pieces. I worry a little about what strangers might say, and I’m a little unsure at what point my boys’ imagination gets too much input.

One of my favorite pieces is a very large print by Simen Johan. This particular piece is from a series called Evidence of Things Unseen. The print is 44×44 inches (112×112 cm) and hangs behind me… thus forcing my kids to study it in detail every time they come into the office to bother me!

He is a photographer, but my understanding is that he works in collages, meaning that he assembles the various components of an image, though he is the one that photographed all the items. However he does it, it works extremely well. Check out his book when you can. He prints large, but his pieces work equally well on slightly smaller scale.

BigDog

The good people at Boston Dynamics have invented a pack-mule robot called BigDog (get it? BD = Boston Dynamics?) It’s a robot the size of a lama that can haul 340 lbs of gear across virtually any terrain.

Unfortunately, the thing is deafingly loud, so no sneaking up on an enemy with a herd of these things. Check out the video and watch it get kicked by one of the handlers. Later it jumps over an invisible log.

Can you imagine being stuck on a mountain, and being rescued by one of these Techno Bernandiners?

Says BD about their new AT-AT Walker:

The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth
BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog’s legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.

BigDog has an on-board computer that controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a wide variety of sensors. BigDog’s control system manages the dynamics of its behavior to keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.

In separate trials, BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, and carries a 340 lb load.

BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with the goal of creating robots that have rough-terrain mobility that can take them anywhere on Earth that people and animals can go.  The program is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

Something I heard

Pablo Picasso said “I do things I know nothing about. That way, I get to know something about them.”

A first post

This is my first post, off to a great adventure!

… and check out this image I snapped – nothing like the 256 shades of grey to really get you in the mood for a Berlin winter day…

U-Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz