This project from Neil Mendoza harnesses the raw power of hamsters.
Joji, hamster artist, has been equipped with a wheel that drives a Raspberry Pi-aided plotter. Whenever he uses his wheel, he is also powering…a hamster selfie. Recursive hamstering, if you will.
The hamster drawing is encoded in two large wooden cams. The cams were generated by creating a simulation of the drawing machine using openFrameworks and Box2D. They were then exported as vectors and CNC milled from plywood. To be able to have the drawing encoded on the inside, rather than the outside, edge of the cams, it was necessary for them not to have a central axis. This was achieved by milling two aluminium circles with a groove in each of them for a roller chain to sit in. The sandwiched chain then sits on three sprockets around the edges of the back part machine. The drawing arms were also milled from aluminium with pockets for laser cut acrylic inserts.
The hamster is displayed on a small LCD screen connected to a Raspberry Pi hidden behind the screen. The Raspberry Pi is running software written in openFrameworks that sends ASCII commands to an Applied Motion STM23IP-3EE stepper motor over ethernet to control its speed.
Your average hamster covers a distance of about five and a half miles every night. Joji, we salute your muscular, artistic little legs. And Neil – that’s genius. Thanks ever so much for sharing.