with ololo for Beaufort Street Festival (2014)

POLOLOLICE provides insight into a future world order by commenting on the state of our law and government in coming times. It exists in the form of two polololicemen, each one a large polygonal robotic police head on a mechanical wheel base. They are nearly identical, with the difference being their robot components are of differing ages. They are visiting from the year 2111.

Sergeant Zero is officer in charge, and Officer One is a rookie, fresh off the ranks. Zero has seen a lot in his time, plays it a bit safer, but is clearly harbouring pent up frustration with the current state of affairs. One is looking to prove his worth, to get out there and make an impression. He still holds the ideals which motivated him to become an officer in the first place.

“ololo continues to keep us entertained with a couple of massive talking Police Heads, a Beaufort Street favourite, patrolling the street. Now complete with flashing lights and sounds!” Beaufort St Festival

photos by Sohan Ariel Hayes & Steve Berrick

Sculpture & Electronics: Steve Buckles
Electronics & Sculpture: Steve Berrick

Each polololiceman is a cardboard and fibreglass sculpture mounted on a hacked electric wheelchair base.

The sculptures were designed in Lightwave and processed through Pepakura to create the pieces for construction. From there they were traced to cardboard by hand using a projector, and cut and assembled in sections with masking tape. The inside was coated with fibreglass for strength. The three sections were then joined around an aluminium frame, finished and painted.

The electric wheelchairs were stripped of their bodies and a plywood base fitted to the top. A digital potentiometer is wired via a switch into the wheelchair’s joystick ribbon, and controlled by an Arduino Uno. An XBee shield on the Uno receives control commands from a custom controller, built using a Wii Nunchuk joystick, wired into a Teensy 2.0 and sent via an XBee Pro.

A second Uno with an MP3 shield is interfaced to the first Uno via I2C for playing sound effects, and another Teensy 2.0, also controlled via I2C, connected to 3m of NeoPixel LED strips for lighting underneath and inside the sculpture. The Nunchuk gives us 25 sound effects and 25 lighting patterns possible using a combination of button down / ups and accelerometer positioning.

Safety measures are kept in place by hacking onto the existing wheelchair controller rather than replacing it, meaning if 0.3 seconds passes without a control command received, the magnetic brake will be applied and the unit stopped. This is especially important given the highly crowded environment of the street festival.