Monday, November 07, 2011

Rhino Training - automaton by Dave Johnson

I have often said that many contemporary automata are animated three-dimensional single-panel cartoons like the ones you might find in the pages of The New Yorker. The piece shown in the video above is a perfect example of what I mean. A familiar scene such as training a dog to sit is turned on its head when the dog is replaced with a rhinoceros. The piece is by Dave Johnson who you may remember as the creator of the famous Buckyball-moving machine.

The artist explains the origins of the piece:

I got an email at work one day, and the subject was "Rhino Training". (We use a CAD program called Rhinoceros.) My colleague Arlen and I thought that was a hilarious image: trying to get a rhino to sit, with no effect whatsoever. All day long we'd say "Sit!" and then crack up.

So I made a machine about it.

Humor, sound, a slew of nifty mechanisms including the one for the word-bubble, and some truly organic twitching motions for the rhino's ear and tail. An excellent machine all around.

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