You're Gonna Need Electric Bug Spray in the Future

The HAMR3 Microrobot.
Anyone who has seen any kind of spy movie will be familiar with electronic bugs. Electronic listening and tracking devices hidden out of sight of unsuspecting victims.

Robotic scientists are taking the concept to a whole new level by creating actual robotic bugs that run around much like the average cockroach and equally as small.

As reported by Mashable, Tiny Robots Act Like Bugs, these tiny bug-like critters are being developed by Scientists at Harvard, who have spent the past five years building robot bugs that can move with the same dexterity and speed as real-life insects.

The goal, according to Harvard Microbiotics Lab, is to "create high-performance aerial and ambulatory microrobots," which can perform tasks such as "search and rescue operations, assisted agriculture, environmental monitoring, and exploration of hazardous environments."

Check out Mashable's video report embeded below to see some of the microrobots (known as HAMRs - Harvard Ambulatory Microrobots) in action.



Of course I know better than to fall for these critters being developed purely to aid humanity. Any robot with a name like HAMR is destined to join the imminent robot uprising, or at least will be doing the bidding of some totalitarian future government regime like those spider-bot thingies in Minority Report.

Spider-bots in Minority Report.
Hopefully some scientist somewhere is working on Electric Bug Spray so that I don't wake up some day with little HAMRs scanning my eyeball whether I want them to or not.


A Time Machine Called Life Powered by Routine

Currently I feel like I'm in a state of constant travel. Not physical travel as such but a general feeling of travelling through time some what quicker than most people. I feel like that time machine called life is not so much passing me by as moving me forward at a faster than normal pace.

Which would be fine if I could say my life was so much bigger on the inside, like the Doctor's Tardis, but it's not, it's actually smaller and filled with a lot of mundane crap that needs to be done. It's something called a 'routine'. Mine involves dish washing, exercising, walking our two dogs, and doing work for clients. Things that need to be done but I'd quite happily rather be doing something else.

Your routine is what propels you forward through time. The more you have in your routine the faster you travel through time. Paradoxically if parts of your routine are really mundane or just downright boring they can feel like time is dragging but it's just an illusion. You'll still wonder where all your time went at the end of the week.

The problem with a routine is, if you get too much packed into it, it becomes very hard to find time for those things that can make your life bigger, more interesting and just generally more fulfilling. That's where I find myself now. I keep trying to plan to do other things but by the time I get through my routine there's usually no time left.

I suspect my feeling of travelling quicker through life is not dis-similar to anyone who has, what people some time refer to as, a 'real' job - as if what I do for a living isn't real simply because I work from home and have to manage my own routine - but that's another bitch session.

Anyone with a job knows that it's not so easy to find time to do those extra things after work and on the weekends that you want to do but are not generally part of your routine. Often it's because you just want that time to wind down and relax because the job part of your routine wears you out.

If your job is just a job then it can really feel like your life is being propelled forward through time by your routine. Before you know it, you're not as young as you used to be and you are wondering if you couldn't have spent that time doing something more worthwhile.

I really don't mind the speed at which I appear to be travelling forward through time but I do have that sense that I should really be doing something more worthwhile with my time. Something that is more meaningful to me and feels a lot less like a routine.

Time to pull this Time Machine over to the side and give my routine an overhaul I think.

The Cage Skatepark - Art and Animation by TET

The Cage Logo.
Continuing on from my last post featuring my early cat art here's some more of my work from ten years later, around 1990-91.

The Cage Skatepark, Perth Western Australia, was the result of a collaborative effort between The Riverton Skatepark Inc., my sister and our group of skate boarding friends.

My sister needed somewhere to put the Vert Ramp she had bought from The Edge Skatepark in Fremantle, that had closed down. Which is how we became involved with Riverton's efforts to set up a park for their local skaters.

As part of my involvement, which included constructing most of the park's smaller ramps and obstacles, I designed its logo.

Monkey Character
by TET
Featuring a monster like character, adapted from a monkey character that I had been drawing in many different poses onto my friends skateboards, the design was used on T-Shirts, Letterhead, the park's sign and throughout the newsletter I published.

I even created a hand drawn (or more accurately 'mouse drawn') animated version which you can see at the beginning of The Cage video below.



On the right is a closer look at the T-Shirt version (slightly distorted due to the T-Shirt stretching).

If memory serves me correctly I think we had a screen with the stencil professionally applied then myself and my sister created a bit of a production line whilst I silk screened all the shirts we printed.

The logo was printed on the back of the shirt. On the front we printed a smaller 'pocket' logo that I designed. (see the image, right)

This was an earlier idea for a logo that was used prior to the park being opened. I think 'The Cage' lettering was added later, after the park was named (it was called 'The Cage' because it was located on a disused tennis court with high fencing all the way around).

Those of you familiar with my animation and video blog may recognise the artwork below which is from the same period. The character is the monster from the logo decked out in skateboarding gear.

This particular image appeared in one of The Cage's Newsletters alongside an article I wrote commenting on skateboarding fashions of the day.

What's interesting (to me at least) about the image above is that, through illustrating the newsletter I learnt a lot about the effect of using different line thicknesses in inking my drawings. How a thicker line could make parts of the drawing stand out more than others, creating a kind of depth to the image.

Cats Drawn by TET - Age 11

Original Cat Art by TET,
Age 11. Pen and Pastel.
On my recent trip back to Perth, Western Australia, I visited my Aunt, who asked me if I wanted some pictures back that I had drawn her as a gift when I was just eleven years old.

The drawings were too big to fit on my scanner so I decided to just show you a sample from two of the best that my Aunt gave me.

The first image on the right is one half of a drawing with two cats in similar poses. I wanted to show this image because, if memory serves me correctly, it's a cat that I drew with very few references for the pose or even the structure of the cat's body.

That said I had been drawing and copying a lot of pictures of cats prior to this, so it's not as if I'd never drawn a cat before.

The second image is one from a larger page of many cats I drew prior to drawing the one above. You may notice a dramatic difference in the quality of the drawing.

Cat Art by TET, Age 11. Copied from a children's book.
Pen and Colour Pencil.
The reason for the quality difference between this and the first image is that this whole page of cats were all copied from a children's book of cats I'd gotten hold of. Obviously, at age eleven, it was relatively easier for me to reproduce someone else's art than to produce this kind of quality in an original drawing.

I would like to stress that the image wasn't traced, as evidenced by the fact that the central striped cat has a slightly lop sided head, where I didn't compensate properly for the angle I was drawing at. I also tried to match the colour scheme of my reference image as well.

Some artists are embarrassed to show their earlier art. I'm not one of them. Seeing my really early work is always an interesting reminder of just how far I've come. Apart from that I hope other aspiring artists find it interesting to see how I started out.

Along with my own original drawings I did a heck of a lot of copying of other artists work in my youth. It taught me a lot about drawing and helped me to advance my own style without me really even thinking about it.

In fact it wasn't until I started networking with other professional artists that I realized finding your own style was actually a thing that concerned them. I just drew things how I do, like I always have and people started to say I had my own unique style.

So, just to finish up this post, here's one of my recent cat artworks for comparison.

JAC's Back by TET.
Acrylic on Canvas.

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