Rafael Mizrahi: World’s Biggest, Most Useless AI Machine

World’s Biggest, Most Useless AI Machine

World’s Biggest, Most Useless AI Machine
Space Odyssey HAL-9000 computer as a Useless Machine.

We wanted to aim high and build the world’s biggest, most useless AI machine (AKA "leave-me-alone box"). Initially, we thought of building a large wood box, with a door on its top. The presenter would climbs on ladder and pull a large toggle button while the opening theme song from Space Odyssey (Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra) is playing at the background, to create a dramatic scene.
And then, the twist came. Let's build a large version of HAL-9000 computer from space odyssey which will behave as a useless machine.

Background A: At the "2001: A Space Odyssey" film, directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Arthur C. Clarke, HAL-9000 the spacecraft computer killed the crew members and Dave the remain astronaut wants to shut down HAL.
Background B: In the honor of Marvin Minsky, the godfather of HAL-9000 and inventor of the useless machine. Marvin Minsky at lifehacker article
So there you go. We have a super inteligent machine that does not want us to shut it down.
Let's build it.

We took a plastic "Keter" service closet (model 4454) and painted it black using spray cans.
Behind the eye, made out of round lamp and a red plastic diffuser, there is a projector.
The projector is connected to Arduino TVOut which only outputs a white filled circle that also changes its diameter based on microphone input.
Having the circle moving according to the sounds gives HAL's eye more realistic look.
The second Arduino was in charge of servos and audio. We divided the tasks to 2 Arduino Uno to avoid collisions in PINs requirements. Having all the libraries on one arduino was almost impossible.
The sounds of HAL-9000 are stored on an SD card inside an Adafruit music shield mounted on an Arduino Uno.
To open the front bottom door and push the large toggle button, we used two Power HD (HD-6001HB) servos.The servos stall torque is apx. 6 kg-cm.

As expected, the hardest part was to create the large toggle button and to push it properly.

Overall, it was a yet another great weekend. A weekend that you improve your skills of bringing a vision come true, in 3 days.
You learn what to do and what not to do? You improvise and prioritize.
You code, glue, cut, drill, paint, drink beer, code again, no sleep, solder, brainstrom with friends, help other teams, eat lots of cookies and coffee, drink beer again. and if the gods permit and the starts are aligned in the right direction, you might be able to demonstrate your working creation at the finale of the event. hopefully more than one time.

source code of the project is at https://github.com/Feng-GUI/experience/tree/master/UselessMachine

Project members:
Rafael Mizrahi
Mickey Martin
Eyal Keidar
photos: Tal Duek

Copyright © Rafael Mizrahi Urang-kurai