Blubber Bots are DIY robotic species that navigate autonomously and intelligently. Blubber Bots float, dance, seek and sing. They are light-seeking helium-filled balloons that graze the landscape in search of light and cell-phone signals. If you make a call and wave your phone near a Blubber Bot, it will go into a flocking dance or sing you a special tune. They bellow sounds similar to a whale’s song and serenade you with melodies. When not being played with, they rest for awhile, awakening periodically and seeking attention.
Social and friendly in nature, Blubber Bots like to play. You can invite other Blubber Bots over for a party to watch a roomful flock and mingle. They propel themselves using helium buoyancy and two directional motors. They are a little clumsy though and bump into things. Fortunately, Blubber Bots are born with a feeler (bump switch) to help them out of tricky situations. At a click of a “feeler” they back up and head in a new direction.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, come build your own Blubber Bot on Saturday, June 30th, at Machine Project, Echo Park, with Jed Berk, the creator of “Transitional Species” interactive sculptures that combine emerging technologies and familiar forms.