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Wasteland: A First Look

Meet Otto, the drawing robot

Meet Otto, a drawing machine built by artist Jürg Lehni, that wiggles back and forth across a blackboard, gaining the attention of everyone at the bar. The Interval is not only home to Otto and an impressive cocktail menu, but also a place for people to gather to consider our future. It’s operated by the Long Now Foundation, an organization that looks to art and science to consider the kind of long-term impact we could have on our world, Otto seems right at home in challenging people to consider how we might employ or interact with machines.

Lehni has built drawing machines all over the world, and sees them as a way to spark conversation about transparency, or lack thereof, in our relationships with technology. The system of pulleys is driven by some serious Maxon Swiss servo motors mounted at the corners of the blackboard, not to mention all of the math that goes into triangulating the position of the chalk; the machine is complex, but the result is elegant. Otto makes you stop and think about all of the calculations we take for granted when we do something as simple as draw with a piece of chalk.

Check out the video to see Otto in action.

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