ICU2 – I See You Too

ICU2 is the evolution of the 1st iteration, this new version was totally upgraded, all the pans and tilts systems are from ServoCity, and the software had been re-written from scratch, the face tracker component is on a openFrameworks program wich makes it more performative, and on the Processing side we had a preset based animation program, everytime it looses a face it will load a preset with a diferent animation, this makes it more organic and less repetitive, I will talk more about the software on another post.

This installation is ment to work without the screen, it focuses the attention of the viewer on the ICU, but both of the exhibitions had the screen there as you can see. The knowledge pavilion required the screen to be there because it shows all the control side of the mechanism, and they want to show it to the visitors, and on the FCT Open Day, this exhibition was ment to be visited by new engineering students so we decided to let the screen to be there as well.

Workshop “Introduction to Robotics”

Teatro ABC.PI invited Artica to give a one day “Introduction to Robotics” workshop at “Ponto de Encontro” in Cacilhas (Almada), and the good news is that it is totally free, the not so good news is that you need to hurry up because there is a limitation to 15 participants. This is an initiative of “Quinzena da Juventude” and “Camara de Almada”.

Workshop Introdução à Robótica

ICU2, almost there

ICU2 is going to Pavilhão do Conhecimento in February and we are finishing the hardware and software. Some servos needed to be swapped and I needed to print a suport for a standard servo, this video shows a bit of the printing process and the printed thing assembled.

There will me more updates very soon.


Magabot is an open hardware and software robotics platform designed to stimulate creative minds.


Any robot with a computer is a very powerfull robot, and because all laptops have a camera, a screen, speakers, microphone, batteries and usb interfaces, your robotics experience will be empowered with Magabot.

This project is being developed in a partnership with IDMind, Artica and with the participation of Francisco Dias.

The Software:

Many applications are being developed right now, follow colors, wall follower, face detection, among many others.

We will provide interfaces for VisualStudio, .NET, c#, c++, openFrameWorks, Processing, Arduino, Flash, Unity3D, MAXMSP, PD and if you feel like you want to develop your own interface you will be welcome too, we give full credits on everything.

You will be able to download apps for the Magabot, to develop your own apps, and if you feel they deserve money, you will be able to sell them too.

The hardware:

The hardware is made with rigid PVC and a differential drive chassis with highly precise encoders on both motors at the commands of an Arduino and a customized shield. You’re completely invited to change and adapt it to your needs.

The basic setup integrates:
– PVC chassis with DC motors with encoders;
– Three Infrared-sensors on the bottom to detect stairs or lines;
– Two bumpers on the front to detect collisions;
– Three RGB leds if you are in the mood for some tuning;
– A battery sensor to know how if it is in the need for some juice;
– I2C bus on top to connect any I2C devices;
– A 7.2v battery and a charger.

Add-ons built at the moment:
– Pack of 5 Maxbotix sonar sensors with PVC supports to connect to the upper I2C BUS;
– Other add-ons are beeing developet at the moment.

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We lauched the site today, this website will be a repository for informatiom, source code, apps, hacks, support forum, and a place to buy Magabots.

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Magabot is a protoproduct, we are commercializing our open source and open hardware best prototype at a low cost:

If you buy one you will automatically enter on our beta test program, we invite you to share your experiences and to post your results, we will also provide you with support for you to be able to use it, change it, and play with it.

The current price for the platform wthout the sonar kit is 250€ plus VAT.

The current price for the sonars kit is 100€ plus VAT.

If you need more information please contact us: info [at] magabot [dot] cc

Clever ways of attaching components to your robot

During the development of Farrusco, we tried a lot of different ways to attach components to PVC supports, from hot-glue, to screws and double side-tape. Because this is intended to be sold as a kit the main keywords were: easy, cheap, last long as possible, and as a final thought “less is more”, what you will see in the fotos below was how André Almeida solved the issue, all credits goes to him. As you see we are using PVC but this can be done with cardboard, wood, acrylic, polymorph, you name it..

We will show bumper-sensors and a Sharp distance sensor, there won’t be much to say, photos speak for themselves:

What we will use is as simple as this:


Starting with the bumpers, as you see they will fit perfectly inside the holes


Attach them with zip ties


let’s do the same with the Sharp IR


Fits perfectly on the pvc


use zipties to attach both to each other


fotos below speak for themselves:





Use your components shape as an advantage and try to be as simple as possible.

Now that you saw this, you can imagine other cool ways to attach other components and sensors to your robots!!

Inner’s Lair


Inner’s Lair started with a crazy idea of having an immersive interactive installation that could gather many artistic and computational topics that we at Artica have been disccussing in the last months. So, mostly we wanted to tryout our new conceptual implementation of cool topics as immersive sound, computer vision, interactive robotics, and organic behaviors.


Meanwhile POP UP Lisboa 2010 came up and I was invited to apply a purposal for an instalation, and I thought that Inner’ Lair could be a great challenge for me and André Almeida, and a great opportunity to promote ARTICA interactive and technological solutions.

So, all the conditions where in place, we have this great idea and a great place to show it. Due to the complexity of the project we assume that it would be shown as a WIP (work in progress). This way we stablished several steps, to setup sound, all the set, computer vision system and robotics.

We will be all the saturdays (except 27th, wich we will be there in 28th) working on-site until the end of Pop Up. After the end of the event we intend to continue this WIP on another place. If you know a place to show this creation we will be glad to know.

This saturday (13 of November) was really fun, we had a lot of friends passing by willing to give us a hand, lots of visitors asking what we where doing, we had such a good time.



This is the current state of Inner’s Lair, robots still don’t move, but they will ;)



Artica is a startup company created by me and my friend André Almeida, we decided to merge our skills and knowledge in many fields, from artificial intelligence, augmented reality, interactive media, visual contents, immersive installations, creative robotics, project management, set and light design, and many other cool stuff we have done in the past years.

We are still developing website and blog, so please keep visiting us and feel free to contact us anytime: all [at] artica [dot] ws all [at] artica [dot] cc

Snail the Light Seeker

This creature roams through the surrounding environment and seeks for light sources. When an object is too close it reverses motion and turns around, and then goes on seeking light.

I used an old toy motor and platform, then added two LDR light sensors, a SHARP infrared sensor on the front and Arduino Diecimila for the brain.





11-11-08 UPDATE:
My Snail bot is on WIRED  :)


With a better understanding of robot building and navigation programming I came up with this robot!

I think that the great improvement here was that I’ve made a plan of what I wanted to build and looked after solutions before the assemble process. So, this one came out a more successful robot!!

This is my first real approach of avoiding obstacles and navigation programming and I’ve had a lot of fun with it! Nevertheless, the values that return from the sensor fluctuate a little and I need to work on it!