Design Robotics at the Woodford Festival

Image Source: Woodford Folk Festival

 

Woodford is an annual folk festival held in Queensland, Australia. Known for its vibrant and eclectic culture, it is the largest gathering of musicians, artists and speakers in Australia. Every December over 130,000 people travel from all around, pitch their tents, and settle in to enjoy six days and nights of music and art.

At the recent 34th Woodford Festival, one of the 438 acts was a presentation by Dr Glenda Caldwell from Design Robotics. Dr Caldwell brought art and robotics to the festival, discussing new transdisciplinary approaches to design through architecture, interaction design, human-computer interaction and robotics.

 

During the presentation, Glenda Caldwell said that the ability to see is critical to the advancement of design robotics. An idea not only described in terms of the capabilities of robots assisting us in creative processes but the vision we hold for the future of humanity. This vision is safeguarded by learning from the past and acknowledging the present, as the natural world and digital world entwine, Dr Caldwell stated.

This discussion and these considerations need to be continued beyond now, beyond this festival and into our classrooms, our research, and much farther.

  • Glenda Caldwell

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion was also held on Designing the future with artificial intelligence joined by Dr Glenda Caldwell, Professor Janet Wiles and Dr Erica Mealy.

 

The connecting thread throughout the discussion was an essential human component to robotic technologies, where robots learn from people and assist them rather than replace them. Glenda explained that the ultimate goal of Design Robotics and UAP’s work is achieving the artist, designer or architect’s intent.

The potential of robotic manufacturing technology lies in its versatility, and its ability to accommodate different levels of engagement and integration with the technology throughout the creative process. “How we incorporate robotic technology that responds to the end user is really critical in what we’re doing,” Glenda explained,  “we want the interface to be usable for as many people as possible in the manufacturing environment”.

The discussion was later aired as a Big Ideas episode on ABC Radio National.