Hacktivism 102: Spastic Robots

I taught a two-part workshop series through Free Skool on creating robots, kinetic art, and other DIY toys from the cast-offs of consumer society.

Spastic Robots are robot doodles, cyborg rejects, the workings of the mad-scientist who lives just below the landfill. We’ll bring in a bunch of VCRs and other things with motors and controllers and reconfigure them into little spastic robots. Maybe it will help you learn to solder and to think creatively about design.  We will build stuff, some from recipes, some from the creative pockets of our big monkey brains.

We spent the first class, disassembling old media machines, toys, and appliances, isolating and identifying their valuable little parts.  The second class we began to assemble them in new ways.  Some people focused on making tiny autonomous robots, while others focused on making dangerous-looking kinetic art.

Dozens of people came to one or both classes in the series and learned about basic electronic parts, how to solder, and how to quickly disassemble and remove the half dozen motors in an old VHS machine.