Artist Bruce Shapiro worked in designing kinetic sculptures for the last 20 years. Shapiro worked on motion-control technology to find a way to combine science with his art. Finally, he built CNC art tools and designed the Sisyphus, a completely functional coffee table. Shapiro describes the Sisyphus system as an instrument. The system’s name comes from the Greek mythological king called Sisyphus, who was punished to roll a giant rock up to the hill and down for eternity. Likewise, Sisyphus rolls on forever, creating intricate designs.
The mechanism of the Sisyphus draws on basic physics and motion control to design endless mesmerizing patterns on the sand. A layer of sand covers the table, and a small, magnetized iron ball rolls atop the sand. Two motors are controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer, which is ‘playing’ the pattern files by magnetizing the iron ball on the sand until you unplug it. So Sisyphus’s “eternity” is as long as users decide. On the other hand, you can create your favorite playlist, control the table lighting, speed of drawing by any browser or a mobile app.
Shapiro designed three different models of the Sisyphus series, all in different sizes and uniquely different. But he is willing to get some support via by his Kickstarter campaign. For anyone who would like to have meditative robotic artwork, it is a great chance to get one as well.