New Kinetic Sand Drawing Tables by Bruce Shapiro

Twenty-five years ago Bruce Shapiro  abandoned his medical practice to embark on a journey that would marry technology with the meditative practice of sand art. He ingeniously used CNC machines, which at the time were primarily used in industrial settings, to develop his kinetic art project known as Sisyphus . While Shapiro has created sculptures for Sisyphus over the past 20 years, showing his work across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, he more recently became intrigued with the thought of bringing the mesmerizing creations into the home. Along with Nordeast Makers, a Minneapolis based makers space he helped found, Shapiro has developed the Sisyphus Kinetic Art Table . The recently launched Kickstarter campaign, which has already doubled the team’s original goal in a few short days, offers tables in three sizes with finishes in birch/maple, walnut, padauk and black veneer. All aspects of the table, except the electronics, have been crafted in the United States. “Over time I have come to view Sisyphus as more than a kinetic art piece: it is an instrument, ” Shapiro explains. “As a musical instrument plays songs, Sisyphus plays paths. My goal with this Kickstarter is to get Sisyphus into people’s homes for them to enjoy as both furniture and art, but also, to inspire a community of composers to write ‘music’ for it.” Bringing the contemplation of a Zen garden indoors, Sisyphus has no on/off switch. It simply plugs in and automatically calibrates itself, loads a default playlist of paths, and begins playing. You can control playback, speed of play, and table-lighting from a mobile app or by using any browser to connect to Sisyphus with WiFi. Development is underway to allow other “composers” to create pathways for their tables. The only worry is that Sisyphus is so hypnotic, you may forget to speak with your guests while watching it at work!

Worlds First Autonomous Sand Art Robot

Researchers from Disney, together with students from ETH Zürich, have developed Beachbot, a small robot that scurries across the sand creating large scale art by dragging a rake behind it. "The BeachBot is an autonomous robot that can create large scale sand art. The robot will be deployed at a public beach to amaze beachgoers who pass by. Not only the final picture is important, the whole drawing process will provide an exceptional, magical show. The BeachBot is not just a lifeless, mechanical being; it is a friendly looking creature with a soul. The BeachBot is 60 cm in length and 40 cm in both width and height. To provide maximal mobility and enough robustness a 3 wheel arrangement with differential drive back wheels and a steered wheel in the front is used. The BeachBot carves pictures into sand with a rake consisting of seven individual movable elements actuated by servo motors. They are attached at the tail of the robot. This solution leads to great visibility of the drawn lines and to a large variety in line width, from minimal 5 cm up to the width of the robot." Take a lokk at a video explaining more about Beachbot, and a timelapse video of it creating art.