Niklas Roy describes himself as an inventor of useless things. He is an artist based in Berlin producing really great interesting artworks with electronics, which often have a humoristic absurdity and ironic twist. In this post I only highlight a couple of his projects. You can find more of his works on his website.
My little piece of Privacy
My little piece of Privacy is a really sweet and humoristic interactive installation. Niklas Roy’s studio is located in a store with a big window facing the street with people passing by. The installation was an attempt trying to get some more privacy.
The installation consists of a small curtain, much smaller than the window but big enough to cover one person. The curtain is connected to a computer and a surveillance camera that can track the pedestrians, which enables the curtain to position exactly where they are located to prevent them from looking inside the window.
Ironically, the attempt to get some privacy didn’t really succeed, as this interactive installation instead attracted more attention than before.
There is also a bigger version of this installation that was produced for the Paranoïa exhibition in 2011.
One of Roy’s more recent artworks is the Roboter Reiniger – a handy little household robot (robot cleaner) that can clean your home. The small robot is equipped with a modified toothbrush as a broom. You place it on the floor, switch it on, and it starts to move and clean. As it detects obstacles with his infrared “eyes” it can turn to another direction and continue cleaning somewhere else.
While active, it also whistles some happy tunes to indicate how much it enjoys the cleaning. You can see a video of the robot in action here.
I would love to have this robot in my home!
Niklas Roy also frequently holds workshops all over the world. I had the pleasure to organise one of them at C:art Media at Valand Art Academy in Gothenburg some years ago during my time as a teacher there. The title of the workshop was Reinventing Television. The students who participated created new storytelling machines by rebuilding old televisions.
Niklas Roy is not just a great artist, he is also very generous in sharing his knowledge and showing how he constructs things. On his website you can find code, plans and schematics on some of his projects, to make you understand how he has developed them and the technique behind them.
Take a look at the code for the robot for instance, in the head you find the license-restriction for you using his code, THE BEER-WARE LICENSE.
* “THE BEER-WARE LICENSE” (Revision 23):
* As long as you retain this notice you can do whatever you want with this stuff.
* If we meet some day, and you think this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer
* in return. Niklas Roy.
* Revision 23 is based on revision 42 of this license by Poul-Henning Kamp
* Please note that this code is a quick hack, which is only poorly commented and
* meant for reference use only.
* Code is written in AVR-GCC and runs on an ATmega8 with 1MHz internal oscillator.
This makes at least me happy and also encourage me to buy him a beer next time in Berlin.