SADbot (The Seasonally Affected Drawing Robot) is a solar powered, interactive drawing machine, originally installed at the Eyebeam window gallery in Chelsea, NYC, in partnership with Dustyn Roberts. Think of it like a sol-powered etch-a-sketch.  It uses two 18.5” x 13” solar panels to power two stepper motors which allow the control of a pen in two dimensions.  SADbot takes input from people walking outside the gallery window by putting a set of sensors that can tell how much light they’re getting (photocells) up against the inside of the window.  SADbot knows if someone is covering up one of the sensors, and can change its drawing behavior accordingly.

As the Window Gallery at Eyebeam does not receive direct sunlight, the artists set up an array of mirrors on the roof to direct sunlight to a fixed mirror hanging off the roof that reflects light down to the solar cells in the gallery window. The solar cells, in turn, power the motors to run the drawing machine.

Most of the components and techniques used in the installation will be featured in Dustyn’s book, Making Things Move, and everything will be documented and made open to the public. If you want to build your own, here’s a link to the instructable. We tried to use open source platforms (Arduino, Processing, Sparkfun’s EasyDriver motor boards), to make it easier for anyone to make their own SADbot. Take a look at the Arduino code.

News: SADbot wins an editor’s choice ribbon at Maker Faire NYC 2010!

More News: SADbot participates in ArtBots: The robot talent show 2011 in Gent, Belgium!