Niklas Roy: Dokumat 500
Niklas Roy is a German artist with engineering skills, a quirky sense of humor and an interest in robotics. Dokumat 500 is creation he completed last year—it's a fully automatic documentary robot. The camera is mounted on a tripod on powered wheels and has servo motors that control the pan and tilt of the camera. The 'brain' of the unit arbitrarily (algorithmically, actually) decides when to stop and start recording, which way to move and how to pan and tilt. There are infrared sensors on the feet that keep the Dokumat from bumping in to things or falling down steps, but they have nothing to do with determining what to film. The entire thing is explained in this quirky video that Roy made to document the Dokumat.
The Dokumat 500 does best in crowded situations where people are forced to interact with it as seen in this video it created at last year's Art Forum in Berlin.