Developed by studio AATB, Sunny Side Up is an installation comprised of a robotic arm and a metal rod, proposing a contemporary version of the archaic typology of the sundial. The object embodies the movement of the Sun in real time as the Earth orbits around it. From sunrise to high noon and sunset, Sunny Side Up brings the movement of this celestial body close to the viewer. The robotic sun orbits around a metal rod, casting a shadow and allowing the measurement of time, as well as the viewer’s reconnection with celestial events.
In the age of Anthropocene, Sunny Side Up raises questions on our current disconnect from the planet and circadian rhythms. In a future where cities get more and more polluted, will our current disconnect from starlight and the night sky permeate to daylight and the sun’s position? Similarly, in a world where productivity and work cycles ignore natural rhythms, can this artificial sun serve as a timely reminder of when to start and when to stop? This man-made sun also raises awareness on the artificial construction of nature and the technological quest to harness it throughout time.
Sunny Side Up uses a Universal Robots UR10 robotic arm. It is programmed to orbit from one side to another of an aluminum rod, while maintaining constant distance and direction to it. The program controls the high-power LED, via a 10V analog output signal from the robot controller. This allows to fade in and out the light during sunrise and sunset sequences.
A custom Arduino-based interface board was developed to monitor the 10V analog signal and control the brightness of the LED by PWM-ing the LED driver via a mosfet. A CNC-machined aluminum heatsink, directly bolting to the UR10 tool flange, keeps the LED cool. The whole assembly is mounted to the wall with a machined aluminum plate, it shines light on a lathe-turned and polished aluminum rod, threaded to bolt into the wall.
The orbit plane angle is matched to the installation site’s geographic latitude so that the trajectory and shadow cast by the light are physically-correct.
The project was first shown during Milan Design Week 2018, as part of the U-JOINTS exhibition curated by Andrea Caputo and Anniina Koivu. AATB is a new Zurich and Marseille-based creative studio founded by Andrea Anner and Thibault Brevet.