The Robotic Renaissance
Project is an original Curriculum Innovation and Development Project
developed under the auspices of Gateway Engineering Education Coalition
and the National Science Foundation. The essence of this project
is to adopt mobile robotic technology from engineering and implement
it in an interdisciplinary education environment involving the performing
arts and design.
Students from the Art, Architecture
and Engineering Schools worked in interdisciplinary teams
to develop projects revolving around robotics and theater.
Each team developed a dramatic scenario which could be acted
out by robots. Instructors put forward materials on the history
of robots in film and theater, from Karel Capek's R.U.R. to
Star Wars. Projects included plays, performative works and
robotic inventions and culminated in a telerobotic exhibition
at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the Spring 2001,
where a robot roamed the museum and was controlled by viewers
over the web who were in communication with physical visitors.
The Project had three major objectives:
- To create and implement an interdisciplinary curriculum for
the development of robotics and its use in theater and film
- To initiate a permanent telerobotic theater environment at
The Cooper Union
- To produce, during the tenure of the The Gateway Coalition,
a major public presentation under the direction of a professional
The Robotic Renaissance Project was developed in the Department
of Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union under the leadership
of Chairperson Professor Jean LeMée, with Dr. Stan Wei, Dr.
Carl Weiman, and Adrianne Wortzel.