Midterm by Komal Kapoor

The focus of Desma 9 is to fill the gap between north and south campus, providing students with an understanding of the integration between art and science.  We started the class with a discussion of the prominent separation between Art and Science. Over the past four weeks, the topics have demonstrated that this divide is flawed because art and science are interrelated. In week 2 we discussed the use of mathematics, perspective, and dimensionality to create art. The creativity and imagination of artists often gets transformed into practical technology, and vice versa. We saw examples of this in week 3 where the imagination of science fiction writers is now coming into life with the formation of robots. In Week 4 we discussed plastic surgery, thus far my favorite topic. Plastic surgery is new technology that has provided us with a form of art where our bodies are the canvas. Once again, technology is used to create beauty and art bridging the gap between art and science.  

However, we have not really discussed the importance of art. Art therapy is a prominent for of healing for patients with mental disorders or conflicted feelings. My midterm project focuses on the importance of art for individuals to lead an emotionally balanced life. The act of creating something provides a certain sense of fulfillment. However, if you are not blessed with artistic talent, it is hard to express those feelings and emotions. As an artist thinks of what to draw, they can also perceive the lines and shapes that are needed to compose an image. But most individuals are not capable of translating their mental images onto paper. There are already ways to synthesize music using only technology, but no way to paint unless you have the skills. Therefore, my project proposal is based on providing such individuals with an outlet for their creativity in a way that they have a concrete piece of art to show for it. RoboArt will be a way for individuals to express themselves without any artistic talent. It is a device that uses a neuro-headset to translate the user’s mental image into a digital image on the computer. The computer is then connected to a painting machine that will use a robotic apparatus to reproduce the image on a canvas. There is existing technology where human thoughts can command robot movement. RoboArt seeks to take this a step further so people can explore their artistic side.

During my research, I came across an interesting new discovery. Scientists have performed experiments with brain-computer interface where a monkey’s thoughts have made a robot move. Also Professor Vesna mentioned in one of the lectures, that recent studies trump the belief that humans are different from animals because they have thought processes. It would be interesting to connect RoboArt to an animal’s brain and see the variety of mental images they produce, providing a breakthrough on how we perceive and understand animals.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/science/15robo.html?_r=2

monkey1

Komal Kapoor

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