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Following Robot

This clip shows a prototype robot from an early stage of the collaboration between Paul Gazzola and Paul Granjon at the Campbelltown Arts Centre. This simple robot could follow a line formed by a line of plastic tape stuck to the ground. It had two simple light sensors connected to the motor control circuit that changed the direction the robot is heading.

Immediately after I shot this video we wondered out loud what would happen if the line the robot was following split into two. Paul stuck down a new line of tape, branching off the main circuit. We watched in suspense as the robot approached the split. I thought it would take the path to the right. At the split the robot seemed to be heading to the right. But then it hesitated, and lurched back in the other direction. It oscillated back and forward In a delightful performance of indecision, this simple mechanism failed in a way that demonstrated the irresistible pull of anthropomorphic experience.

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