artist and researcher stefanie pender has used her expertise in craft processes and her interest in emerging technology to ‘teach’ a robot the art of glassmaking. after being selected to participate in the autodesk art in residency program, pender combined her knowledge of the two seemingly disparate fields to investigate whether human mastery can be taught to machines. ‘tacit knowledge of craft processes has immense potential to enhance emerging technologies,’ pender explains. ‘the sensibilities gained through hands-on experience provide sophisticated comprehension of material behavior, physical properties and responsiveness to environmental conditions. these insights have led me to pursue merging traditional craft proficiency with contemporary technology in an effort to expand the boundaries of material processes.’

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the project requires a collaborative effort between human and machine

 

 

during the autodesk pier 9 residency program, pender developed a fused filament deposition modeling printer for the application of printing glass fibers. the 3D printing tool drives glass fiber through a nozzle, while a dual flame torch melts it at around 2,000°F, and deposits it onto a surface. the device is mounted to a small collaborative robot that replicates the precision of traditional processes and produces complex geometries inside a heated build chamber. however, the robot doesn’t complete the task alone — in a collaborative effort between human and machine, pender has worked side by side to drive and automate the machine’s repetitive tasks.

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pender has worked closely with the robot to drive and automate the machine’s repetitive tasks

 

 

‘as both an artist and a researcher, my objective is to develop technological systems to support the integration of embodied human knowledge: how can the nuanced behaviors of a human operator be translated to data for the purpose of designing customized hardware and software?,’ pender desribes. ‘at pier 9, I pursued these lines of inquiry and developed novel fabrication strategies that exploit inherent physical phenomena accessed through the digital automation of process.’

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pender developed a fused filament deposition modeling printer

stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02
the 3D printing tool drives glass fiber through a nozzle

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a dual flame torch melts the glass at around 2,000°F

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the liquid glass is deposited onto a surface

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stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02

stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02

stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02

stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02

stefanie-pender-teaching-a-robot-the-art-of-glassmaking-designboom-02

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