Kim Smith

Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I want to create a drawing machine that utilizes two pendulum-like mechanisms that are controlled by the the heartrate of two users. Each user would be montitored with a sensor to detect one's heartrate, which then controls the rate at which the pendulum swings, like a metronome. The swing of the pendulum/metronome would fluctuate and reflect the changing state of the participants' hearts.

The two users would be located on the x and y axis of the picture plane, so that each controls a differnt rhythm/motion of the drawing arm. The resulting drawing reflects their disharmony/harmony of the interaction. I am more interested in the process rather than the outcome; however, I would hope to achieve an interesting drawing that oscillates between order and chaos.

Design Process

Experimenting with various digital design tools...mostly Rhino at this point. Have never used it so a lot of my time at this point is spent navigating the program and looking up commands. This initial sketch focuses on the x/y pendulum components that control the drawing tool on the paper. I hope to continue to add to this design section as the semester progresses and my skills at modeling in 3D gets stronger. At this point, I am just learning basics, like creating shapes and extruding them, using snaps, and trying simple commands such as move and rotate and scale. It's frustrating...but getting there and will add more as the idea becomes more refined.


I started by looking at various drawing machines. I was most inspired by Eske Rex's work with his drawing machine that consists of two large pendulums that he usually uses on a scroll of paper on the floor. I was drawn to the simplicity of the piece and the scale. And the drawings are very beautiful. I looked at other harmonographs, usually using 3 pendulums. I thought that it would be very interesting to connect the drawing machine with some-kind of human attachment or input, and I thought of the beat of the heart as a poetic and personal rhythm that could be used to guide the movement of the drawing machine. Connecting it to the idea of two pendulums, I thought it would be especially nice to incorporate two participants, so that the machine captures an image of their heartbeats' interaction. I don't know anything about how to do this, but talked with some people who assured me that there could be a way...

Lissajous Curves