Agnes Roboknit is set to return to Maker Faire UK following her head-turning debut in 2013.
Agnes, for those unaware, is a humanoid robot who uses a custom-made steel loom to knit hats and scarves. Eleven electric motors and a network of 8-bit micro-controllers serve to bring her to life with positional feedback for the arms and hands provided via digital encoders and potentiometers. The result is a mesmeric blend of idiosyncratic movement and mechanised precision.
See Agnes in action:
Creator Andy Noyes explains, “I wanted her to look human from a distance, but obviously be a machine closer up, with metal parts on show.” A silicone face and latex hands formed using casts from a real person help to blur the line between woman and machine further still.
Agnes is a peculiar prospect as she stops knitting to glance up at the gathered crowd. Her behaviour is playful but almost dares us to imagine what humanoid nature would be like. Have you ever wondered: “Can a robot have a mind?”
The name Agnes was inspired by Andy’s grandmother, herself a prolific knitter, but also chosen to evoke the acronyms so dearly loved in the science-fiction community (think KITT from Knight Rider and our favourite, DAVE from Batman). Automated Generic Neck Embellishment Synthesizer is one of the best we’ve seen for Agnes!
Capable of completing a 2m long scarf in just 5 hours, Agnes enthralled Maker Media CEO and Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty at last year’s festival. He said: “I could watch this captivating robot perform its repetitive sequence over and over…”
You can check out Agnes and over 100 other exhibits at Maker Faire UK 2014 – tickets are on sale now!