Thesis – ADM

ADM is my thesis project — it stands for Abstract Drawing Machine. It is currently under revision after showing V1.0 at the ITP Winter Show in 2022. At that stage, it was a working prototype that I did for both thesis class as well as another class I took last semester called Seeing Machines. The fabrication consisted of a large drawing clipboard that had two stepper motors mounted to it, one on each top corner, and on the stepper motors there were timing belt wheels and a timing belt set up in a pulley system with a pen carriage dangling in between.

For V1.0, ADM can be controlled with up, down, left, and right arrows on a keyboard using a Processing GUI and Arduino programs communicating with each other over serial, as well as using a webcam for object tracking from OpenFrameworks, but still just up, down, left, and right. ADM can also scribble in ‘random’ mode.

Nearing the Winter Show, I worked on programming it to draw a circle — in which I was successful!

As of now, I am redesigning the fabrication — I plan to scale up so that it can be assembled and disassembled easily and set up against any vertical surface. I am also going to redesign the pen carriage, keeping it modular as well as adding a small motor to be able to lift the drawing utensil from the surface. Throughout this Spring semester, I am going to narrow down the interaction part of this installation, as well as experimenting with different drawing algorithms and continuing to build out an Arduino library. –> this is hosted on my server from Understanding Networks, how exciting!

link to the Google sheet with resources, supply list, and current schedule.

link to my presentation slides (Fall 2022).

link to my research paper.

Updates / Media:

Click to read and leave comments!!! (please)

For the last and most recent update of ADM, I did a temporary installation in Room 404. I assembled the whole frame and mounted it to a white board, and invited people to play-test the interaction aspect.

As for function, I hardcoded the movements to write out the alphabet, and created an interaction with p5 to have ADM write out letters / words. I also made clock function where ADM writes out the time (military time) every minute.

Recently moved to a larger format. As a temporary installment, it currently lives attached to a large whiteboard on wheels (conveniently enough so I can work by my desk). As of now, only the top portion of the frame (made of extruded aluminum) is mounted to the board, the remaining three pieces to complete the frame will be attached in the future when I can install it against a wall or other flat surface.

When ordering parts for the new frame, I also purchased two new stepper motors. Unfortunately, after running into some issues with the new motors and my current motor drivers (Adafruit TB6612), then purchasing new motor drivers (TMC2209) and trying to troubleshoot with the trusty Phil Cardidi, I had to abandon the new fancy motors, and removed the original motors from ADM V1.

Designing the V2 frame and pen carriage —

Here is a mock up and some preliminary sketches of the new pen carriage, I was able to do this for an assignment for the class CAD for Virtual & Reality.

The most recent drawings:

More motion tracking but now with the Kinect on the ceiling to tracking where a person walks.
Testing motion tracking with a Kinect V2 and OpenFrameworks.
Mouse tracking with p5.
Mouse tracking with p5.

Some creations from the ITP Winter Show!!!
[Forgot to take pictures of some before I gave them out … oops]

CIRCLES !!!!!!! ARCS !!!!! OH MY !!!!!!!!!

Worked on the version 2.0 for the pen carriage so I had something nicer for the Winter Show, and to get an idea of the direction I need to take it in — it is the first version I actually designed instead of drilling a hole into a random scrap of wood. It is built out of two wooden pieces that are attached by brass rods, with a ‘cartridge’ that attaches in between using magnets. Each cartridge can hold a different drawing utensil.

Had to do a few tests to get the right diameter of the magnet.
Used the Shaper to cut out the pieces.

Some more random tests. I just enjoy how these turn out.

More scribbles, but with color!

Did some tests with randomness. Basically, ADM spazzes out. Ran this for roughly 45 minutes total I think.

First tests with the webcam object tracking (still goes up, down, left, and right).
Streaming Against the Current final live stream – controlled by viewers on Instagram Live. Link to blog post.

ADM spells his name. I did this manually with the arrow keys.
First movements with the arrow keys functions.
Baby’s first steps!!!

Related Blog Posts

Final Live Stream – Control ADM

For my final live stream, I decided to do an interactive stream through Instagram, where viewers can submit movements to control ADM the Abstract Drawing Machine. I pinned a comment that said — “Type a direction + a number (ex. 3R, 2U) — and I would manually press the arrow keys on my computer to…

Thesis Part I – Journal #4

I am trying to decide the orientation / design of the drawing machine. I have been mostly planning and leaning heavily toward a vertical XY plotter that is mounted / against a wall. But I’m also playing around with different ideas of having a plotter that is on a tabletop — allowing for movement around…

Thesis Part I – Journals #3

Research (cont’d) Vision” and “The Art of Tinkering” – and marking sections that I want to revisit. I’ve also watched the Peter Vogel documentary called “The Sound of Shadows” as well as flipped through Pedro’s copy of “Retrospective” that documents some of Vogel’s work. Personally, I really enjoy the visual aspect / aesthetic of exposed…

Thesis Part I – Journal #2

Researching The initial areas I’m starting to research are data visualization, interactive sound and visual installations, drawing machines, and sensing people and objects in space. The connection that I want to keep between data / visual / sound is still something that I am focused on and would like to maintain, while incorporating physical computation.…

Thesis Part I – Journal #1

Reflecting & Finding Threads I wouldn’t say a new connection / thread was made (yet), but I do know that I would like to keep some kind of connection between the main areas (fabrication, PComp, sound, and art) I mentioned in my thesis project. Also, I am also very much interested in data → sound…


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s