Flexicoatl, by Yves Amu Klein December 2005.
Flexicoatl, the latest piece in the Living Sculpture project is inspired by the Aztec mythology of the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl.
The mythology talks about a feathered serpent that came from the heavens and brought knowledge to mankind, it was a forbidden act and it caused the Quetzalcoatl to be exiled.
This sculpture represents a contemporary expression of this sacrificial act to offer humanity a chance to reach enlightenment.
Flexicoatl is an interactive sculpture that senses the presence of visitors through its skin, ears, and eyes, and it expresses its emotional state by changing colors and moving its body, eyes and tongue, as well as vocalizing an embracing song.
Flexicoatl is a complex robotic sculpture that uses neural networks to generate its behaviors using Lorax Works technology, such as the micro-controller proSeed developed by Yves and his team.
Flexicoatl hovers above a Periodic Table of Elements and Fundamental Particles that symbolizes the knowledge given to us on the land of exile, from where the Quetzalcoatl was banished, until its expected return.
Flexicoatl is made with aluminized nylon film commonly known as “mylar”.
The balloons are filled with helium, the second lightest element on the periodic table.
The tongue and its vertebrae are complex actuators made of carbon fiber, silicon tubing and high temperature plastics that hold memory shape alloys or SMA, a kind of “artificial muscle”.
The colors are produced by ultra bright color light emitting diodes or RGB LEDs.
A complex network of micro-controllers is used to host Flexicoatl’s “brain”.
Its eyes are made of plastic spheres that work like a “camera obscura” with a CCD array as a retina.
Its ears are a pair of ultrasound sensors that, like bats, can tell Flexicoatl where people and objects are.