Robots are leaving factories heading to our homes to clean the floor, help around the house and drive our cars for us. Soon they’ll be a ubiquitous presence in our cities. The installation Woodie questions how urban robots can be designed for peaceful cohabitation between humans and machines, one that brings joy and happiness.

Woodie the free-moving robot draws with chalk on the ground using Chatswood’s public space as a large art canvas. The area in which the robot wanders around is illuminated with ultraviolet lights. As Woodie draws with luminescent chalk, the ground comes alive with a stunning visualisation made of glowing words and drawings. The LED light display integrated in his outer shell helps Woodie communicate with passers-by. He can let you know about his creative process, the direction he intends to move, or cheekily complain if someone blocks his path.

The installation combines high-tech and futuristic city designs – in the manifestation of the drawing robot – with a low-tech and traditional form of urban storytelling: chalk drawings on the street.

Woodie has been nominated for the Media Architecture Biennale Awards.


Marius Hoggenmueller, Luke Hespanhol, Martin Tomitsch

External Partners
Key Publications

Marius Hoggenmueller, Luke Hespanhol, Martin Tomitsch. Stop and Smell the Chalk Flowers: A Robotic Probe for Investigating Urban Interaction with Physicalised Displays. In Proc. of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20) (Best Paper Honorable Mention Award)

Marius Hoggenmueller, Luke Hespanhol. An Urban Robot For Embodied Hybrid Placemaking. In Proc. of the ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI’20)