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Introduction to ERAS


Like most people in 2020, I experienced a lot of disruption to my career. I had been developing test systems for an LED company until things fell apart there. I found myself sitting on a fair amount of resources, in terms of both material and technical knowledge. The question became: what should I do with it?

I thought about selling my skillset as a prototyping service, but that meant helping someone else build their dream instead of dreaming myself. I felt the need to do something purely creative that was uniquely my own. To realize my full potential by developing something beautiful.

The Extended Reality Art Studio (ERAS)

I’m confident that every engineering project needs to be described by an acronym, preferably with three characters. The vision for ERAS was pretty vague back then. I had received a request to build a table that could tilt and rotate via motor action and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to expand upon that idea.

With testing LEDs, I had learned how to move rectangular substrates around very precisely and repeatably. I saw how valuable it was to the research team to have lots of instruments doing things to test the LED without tedious manual input. I also saw that, by making the process automatic, we could do and see things with the data that weren’t possible before.

But why do this with art? Does an artist really need a tool like this? Of course, it depends on the artist. Many mature artists have discovered a process that is uniquely theirs. My vision for this project is to share this process and build upon it by collaborating with others to see what we might create. Also, it’s just plain fun to play with a robot that can pour paint out of a syringe!

Version Zero

I’ve heard that there are two steps to the design process:
1. Make it work
2. Make it work well
The version in the image above didn’t work at all. It was the end of 2020 and I was really demoralized to have spent so much time on it. I actually decided to abandon the project at this point to pursue other options.

Fortunately, I had lots of good guidance that helped me return to a place where I believed that this was the best use of my time. So, in June of 2021, I got back to developing, having learned from all of the mistakes I had made so far.
Now, it’s gotten to the point where ERAS can produce pieces of art that I like showing to people. Now, it’s time to open the project up to more and more people to see what we might create together!

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