Human/Robot Art Synth Space

A workshop for art-making with robots

Demo from Artmatr.
Full video.

Hello and welcome to the website for the workshop, "Synthesizing Human and Robot Movements for Art Production" taught at MIT during the 2019 MIT Independent Activities Period.

During a five day workshop participants are provided with a six axis robot arm, materials, tools, a workspace, and assistance from instructors. They are asked to synthesize these elements into art. Here you can find documentation for the tools used and created for the workshop, the projects created by participants, and general resources related to the creative use of industrial robots.


Here are some links to existing projects that you may find inspiration for your own projects in:

The Robot


Named after the boy in "Harold and the Purple Crayon". A Universal Robots UR5

Harold is a Universal Robots UR5 industrial, collaborative six axis robot arm. "Collaborative" means that Harold was designed to be used safely in close proximity to humans, unlike most industrial robot arms which are extremely hazardous due to blind power exerted on unforgiving heavy metal limbs. Traditional industrial robots must be physically isolated from human beings to ensure safety, but Harold can sense interference and stop moving.

"6 axis" means that Harold's movement is defined by 6 numbers: the angle of each of 6 joints. It also means that generally Harold can position a tool in 3D space at any angle, though there are limitations imposed by the robot's reach and self-collisions. The "5" in "UR5" stands for 5 kg, the amount of mass that Harold can move at full speed.


Software Tools


V-REP is a commercial robotics simulator. It provides a simple GUI for running experiments and a scripting system for extending its functionality.



Blender is an open source 3D modeling, animation, VFX, game making, and video editing tool.



Rhino is a commercial 3D modeling program often used for product design and architecture projects. Grasshopper is a plug-in for Rhino that provides a visual, flow-based programming language for driving Rhino's 3D modeling capabilities.


The 2019 IAP Workshop

Ten participants, four final projects, and many interesting experiments along the way.


This workshop would not have been possible without support from: