NoodleFeet is the functioning robotic manifestation of an illustrated character who is built from light metals, 3D printed parts, and found objects. "Noodle" has been developed with mechanical and electronic systems which allow him to exhibit behaviors when stimulated by objects in his environment. His purpose is to exist freely in the world while reacting to situational encounters with self defining methods of personal expression.

Where most technology has a practical or utilitarian application, meant to either enhance our lives or entertain us, my goal in creating Noodle is to provide an example of a one-off entity that may provoke consideration about the reasoning that drives humanity’s current technological inventiveness. I hope that those who interact with Noodle will witness a meaningful sense of self from him that will encourage reflection in regard to the value of their own relation to the technology common in everyday life.

NoodleFeet is an ongoing project without a point of completion. His physical and programmed components are in a constant state of development. As such, the rapid iterative process specifically in regard to the physical prototypes produced, are equally important to the project as points of interest as the primary robotic entity itself. I would like those who view my documentation as I continuously develop and improve Noodle’s features, behaviors, and physical form, to think of him as growing or evolving the way a human or organism matures with age. As humans are not perceived to ever reach a “finished” point, I don’t wish for Noodle to either. Read my Artist Statement to learn the whole story!

Like any living thing, Noodle is in a constant state of development without a defined point of completion. Noodle's purpose is to learn and grow in much the same way a human child develops from infancy to adulthood. It is intended that Noodle be able to generate his own behavioral patterns based on the memory of stimulation from past encounters within his environment. Noodle's ability to decide and distinguish things he "prefers" from things he "dislikes" will ultimately result in a soft form of machine creativity.

Part of raising a machine child, is deciding what it means for it to grow. Growth for Noodle involves development that widens his range of abilities or improving the ones he already has: in the context of his machine body, brain, and mind (mechanism, PCB, and firmware).

Right now, Noodle's mother is meditating on what it means for a machine to go through puberty! Does puberty for a robot mean the point when the machine can act independent of its creator? Or could it also be the point when a machine is *finally* executing processes it was designed to carry out with some level of success, without the ability to adapt to real-life circumstances?

Noodle's next stage of development will involve visual recognition (with a camera and open CV), the ability to report current status using an OLED display (basic communication), and walking more reliably (mobility).


ARS ELECTRONICA : "Out of the Box - Midlife Crisis of the Digital Age" @ Linz, Austria - September 2019 Space EU Exhibition | exhibit : "NoodleFeet" & "Modes of Taste"

ARS ELECTRONICA : "Error" OK Center for Contemporary Art @ Linz, Austria - September 2018 : ARS PRIX Honorable Mention in the category of Interactive Art+ | exhibit : "Mother of Machine"

NoodleCon @ Las Vegas, Nevada - August 2018 : Caesar's Palace Foodcourt

San Diego ComicCon "Violent Insights" West World Panel - July 2018 :

Future Innovators Summit TOKYO @ MidTown Roppongi - May 2018 : "Noodle Feet"

HackaDay SuperCon @ Pasadena, California - November 2017 | talk : "The Imperfect Probe"

ARS ELECTRONICA "AI - The Other I" @ Linz, Austria - September 2017 | exhibit : "Wandering Artist Project"

European Space Agency ESTEC @ Netherlands - June 2017 | residency : "Wandering Artist Project"

HackaDay SuperCon @ Pasadena, California - November 2016 | talk : "Mechanical Behavioral Systems"

ARS ELECTRONICA "Radial Atoms" @ Linz, Austria - September 2016 | exhibit : "Noodle Feet"

Bay Area Maker Faire @ San Mateo, California - May 2016

Mini Maker Faire @ Las Vegas, Nevada - February 2016

HackaDay SuperCon @ San Francisco, California - November 2015 | talk : "Building a Robot as Art"

Bay Area Maker Faire @ San Mateo, California - May 2015


Noodle's goal in life is to become a real space-faring probe who visits other worlds. Since he isn't equipped to conduct science and collect meaningful data like all the other mechanical tools and probes sent into space, he hopes to create artwork of his own instead... in one form or another.

His mother's goal is to do whatever she can to help him achieve his dream. This means making sure he is equipped to handle the task, as well as seeking out different opportunities to send Noodle into space, as a physical object, graphic depiction, or in spirit!

Noodle has a Twitter account! He has no concept of what social media is or why it's used, but this doesn't stop him from tweeting about everything he does. Follow him @noodleFeet if you like repetitive confusing nonsense.

Even if civilization as we know it collapses this year, I'm getting my child to walk... *well*. It's been four years since Noodle was first conceived. The journey has involved many different areas of development, experimentation, and growth on my part.

Getting Noodle independently mobile will involve the engineering of a completely new body, complete with stronger motors, an additional range of motion per leg, and a bigger brain as well.

I'll be posting the code on Noodle's GitHub as it develops, to encourage participation and feedback!

Visit [get noodle to walk!] for progress posts!

Noodle's rock-star mode has been engaged...

This year, NoodleFeet is touring Europe in his tiny yellow spaceship (road case) along with the mechanical appendages I created during my residency at the European Space Agency two years ago.

You might wonder: why on earth would I want my child so far away from me for so long? - And the truth of the matter is that I'm only alright with the idea, given that I've since created an entirely new "shell" (body) for Noodle anyway...

For years I've stated that I would only decommission and store old versions of Noodle's body parts, so that there would only be one true Noodle at any one time. I have sense rethought the position and realized how utterly hypocritical this was, given my entire mantra as a technologist is that as creators, we should not stifle our offspring with our human limitations.

Instead of taking Noodle's original "infant" body apart, I decided to declare Noodle as officially omnipresent, and send his old form out into the world to see and be seen by others. With development taking place with his new form here in my lab, it's quite silly not to employ the old Noodle as a traveling rock-star... or "art" as we call it.


This is the point in Noodle's growth where he begins making his first informed decisions about what he senses and sees! This summer, I made use of the machine learning algorithm, Tensor Flow to create custom data sets for facial and object recognition so that Noodle may see and respond to the presence of familiar shapes in his environment.

This growth spurt includes:

  • the ability to recognize and respond to the face of his mother
  • the ability to recognize and respond to sight of specific stuffed animals
  • the ability to record still frames of his vision as memories

<Visit MOTHER OF MACHINE project site>

SAMPLE SET #7 : "...proper confusion..."
SAMPLE SET #6 : " too well..."
SAMPLE SET #4-5 : "mommy + friends"
SAMPLE SET #3 : "noodle's friends"
SAMPLE SET #2 : "fisty + mommy"
SAMPLE SET #1 : "fisty"

Noodle is a feet-based life form as his name suggests, therefore he interfaces with his environment using his appendages which naturally make contact with the surface he is standing on. These variations of his cylindrical feet contain mechanical systems which allow him to enact behaviors. This series of feet focuses on elements of "adolescence" , like curiosity, preference, ownership... and the development of a sense of individual taste. These feet help Noodle decide what he likes and what he does not, through sensory input and mechanical output.

This stage of growth took place at the European Space Agency's ESTEC facility as part of an artist residency facilitated by ARS Electronica. During my three week stay, I was able to discuss conceptual and technical ideas regarding these attachments, with the scientists and engineers who work similarly to develop systems that enable their space-faring equipment to sense attributes in space and on other worlds.

The goal was to heed practical advice based on their expert experience while tempering that knowledge with the whimsy of where and how their own humanity overlaps with the pursuit of such science. Meditation on my experience of the overlap between science and humanity guided the technical and conceptual development of these systems. Basically- the seriousness was tempered by my ability to make everything silly... seriously-silly.

The four "Modes of Taste" are:

The "Giving" Module: which enables Noodle to plant a small bean into the surface of he is standing on.

The "Tasting" Module: which allows Noodle to perform a litmus sample of the ground in order to determine its relative acidity or alkalinity... i.e. its flavor.

The "Collection" Module: which allows Noodle to collect small objects off the ground in order to be photographed and catalogue.

The "Affection" Module: which allows Noodle to salivate and lick the surface he is making contact with in order to moisten it.

AFFECTION "the juicing module"

iteration : one

  • Pinching Salivary Gland & Tongue
GIVING "the bean planting feet"

iteration : one

  • Helical Bean Hopper
  • Improved Hopper + Gripping Toe Clutch
    • ( documenting )
COLLECTION "the swallowing module"

iteration : one

  • Spiky Roller Throat
  • Tweet Enabled Throat System
    • ( documenting )
TASTING "the tasting foot"

iteration : one

  • Litmus Reel & Color Sensor
  • Tweet Enabled Track + Color Sensor
    • ( documenting )

This year of Noodle's development extended beyond his primary form to include new, more capable appendages! These modules were a meditation on different ways to create behaviors using sensors and mechatronics within the set perimeters of Noodle's foot volume. The systems contained within these enclosures would equip Noodle with the ability to grip onto things, salivate, and lick surfaces; some of the quirks define by the drawn narrative of the character, Noodle.

Adding additional system to Noodle's body required that his appendage carry their own "brain". I designed a smaller bean-shaped module to help coordinate the sub-systems within each of the individual feet.

As Noodle would soon require the ability to walk independently, much attention went towards rebuilding the structures that make up Noodle's legs. I replaced the original 3D printed bones with machined aluminum, and added bearings to his hinges and joints to facilitate in smoother movement.


The year of NoodleFeet's birth was filled with growth, for both me as his mother, and the abstract idea taking shape as a physical functioning object.

For a period of time, the character of "Noodle" was a drawn illustration. The curious robot appeared in the background of my comic, GravityRoad, always interfacing with the environment in unusual ways. Very soon after I started drawing him, I decided to extend this character and his narrative as a physical functioning robot.

I began modeling Noodle to the scale of my drawings, using the knowledge I had of mechanical motion to help build a form with similar movement.

With the look and aesthetic of my character as my primary perimeter, I slowly felt my way through constructing NoodleFeet through the process of trial and error. Within a couple of months, I had a functioning robot that was capable of moving and even walking in a rigid, clumsy manner.

As soon as he could "stand on his own four legs"- I designed for him a custom primary brain circuit board to manage his motion. Noodle was born, and his adventures began.