Ground Breaking Robots

Goes Along with Sophia Text

Simone Sparrow


Simone Sparrow

Mole Mechanism Video

Sina Ball and Julian Slama

Shovel Mechanism Video

Sina Ball


Rowan Roudebush and Joseph Cybul

Rowan brief:

The Growing Building is a building which comes out of the ground in the order that it will be put together, but each component will be put together in a fantastical way, this is meant to turn a usually mundane groundbreaking ceremony delightful.

The goal of ground breaking ceremony’s are to meet investors and city councilmen. Unfortunately almost all of these ceremony’s are extremely boring, and consist of important people in tuxedo’s with ribbon and a shovel. The goal of my project is to have the groundbreaking ceremony for lot jk in divco west’s north point development, break through the norm for most groundbreaking ceremonies. Having the building come out of the ground will allow people to anticipate what is going to be there, and having it be put together in the order it will be put together in real life but in a fantastic way makes it enjoyable to watch. 

We’re using gears to lift up the floors in a 1:2:3:4 ratio so it looks cool. Then we’re going to have a rod with felt resembling the outside of the building wrapped around it spring up and attach to the side of the building with magnets. The entire structure is going to spin around and be wrapped in this felt, then confetti cannons will go off and everyone will applaud!!

Joseph brief:

An automated model of a building that comes from the ground and starts growing the same way a normal building will(first the structure and then the walls). 

In this project we are designing a robot that will be used in the ground braking ceremony of one of the buildings that DivcoWest is building, the idea is to create a more delightful way of representing the ground breaking, different from the typical ground breaking ceremonies where some important representatives of the upcoming construction use a shovel and a pile of dirt to symbolize the start of a new step on building community.

Our idea is to have an automated building that grows from the ground, as it grows represents the ground breaking and at the same time is giving some important messages, one that i really like is that it shows community and also gives as strong massage of confidence, We decide to show the process of a real building in our project to make it as close as reality as possible, so the floors will come out first and after that the walls will be wrapped around by a unit mechanism involving magnets, springs and motors. after that some lights will turn on pointing at the building and also from the inside. to conclude we will like some confetti cannons to spicy things up. 


Simone Sparrow

Final Presntation

Simone Sparrow and Sophia Cohen

When Divco West came to us with the intention of wanting a delightful robot, my groups initial response was dancing. Traditionally ground breaking ceremonies, are a boring site with about right men holding dirt away. We wanted to come up with a way to have the ground breaking become exciting., We created a robot that grows out of the ground and dances based of sound. Three are three different layers to the robot. The first layer comes out of the ground and starts doing a wave motion with its arms. The Second robot then comes out and while the fist robot is still dancing, the second robots head begins to pin around. And lastly the biggest robot comes out of the ground an begins to move its head up and down. In the background would be a fun upbeat song, while the applause of the audience is what control the robot to keep growing out of the dirt. 

Creating this box like robot was very complicated in any ways. We had to create a mechanism that would support all three boxes, and all three dance moves. We had a three legged wooden mechanism with serovs, which are like small motors, attached to the bottom of each body box. We then had to code the servos in order to get them to move to the angle degree we wanted them too. We did the same mechanism for the second box, but we had to use a third servo in order to get the head to pin around. Lastly the smallest box contains two tiny servos by the arms in order to get them to move in that motion. The smallest box will come out of the ground first followed by the rest based off of how loudly the crowd claps. It was be a pleasant fun surprise for all to watch. 

The Ant

Manuel Gold

The Brief

Manuel Gold

Many modern groundbreaking ceremonies are incredibly boring and  repetitive. The highlight of most ceremonies involve speeches by politicians with a few mounds of dirt turned over with ceremonial shovels.  Our solution was to provide a fun and  interactive robot that would entertain guests at the ceremony, as well as spice up and do away with the traditional stigma of groundbreakings as boring and pedestrian.

Our project is designed for Divco West, a large real estate company in Boston/Cambridge.  They asked for a "delightful" robot to perform at the groundbreaking ceremony for their newest project, a lab building at North Point. We explored many options about what could make something delightful, but eventually settled on an anthropomorphic ant that ground-breakers could control and drive around to complete a certain task.

To accomplish these goals we employed TONS of laser-cut wood, as well as cardboard and a significant amount of hot glue.  A set of remote-controllable wheels rested on a bridge along with an Arduino and battery pack.  We also mounted a cardboard shell on top of this to add aesthetic pleasure and disguise the inner workings.  Several legs were also mounted on the bridge.  These were controlled by one continuous motor, rather than several different servos.

The Brief

Sina Ball and Julian Slama

DivcoWest is having a groundbreaking ceremony in 2017 for North Point Development in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. Groundbreakings are boring, they are just a bunch of officials wearing hardhats shoveling dirt with a ceremonial shovel, so DivcoWest had us create robots to make it more fun.  We created the Mischievous Moles to help the audience have a more exciting and fun experience by making a comical plot of cute moles stealing shovels. 

Moles are annoying to be on any owned property and the game Whack - A - Mole highlights that in a more violent way. While moles (luckily) don't have any sentimental or very meaningful ties to the site we think that it still makes sense to joke about a bunch of pesky moles messing around on the site popping up and stealing shovels. We needed two mechanisms, one to pop up the moles and another to take shovels. A rack and pinion moves the mole up and down, there is a motor attached to the pinion and there is a switch to get it to go down. We used Arduino to get it to work. The shovel is pulled down with a string that is attached to a spool, we use a motor to turn the spool which pulls the shovel down.