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About & Contact

I am a practicing artist, academic researcher/lecturer and freelance creative technologist based in Bristol UK.  I am co-founder to Rusty Squid Ltd, co-founder and steering committee member to Moving Object Group Bristol, and Associate Lecturer to both MA Design and BEng Robotics at the University of the West of England Bristol.  I provide participatory workshops on Interaction Design and/or Robotics, as well as public speaking on Creative Technology and the surrounding themes.  I am available for project work.

Feel free to contact me on paul.j.odowd@gmail.com

Recent Public Speaking / Activities

April 2018 "Robot Poetics", Moving Object Group Bristol, Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol.

Jan 2018 "Intro to Interaction Design & Arduino", 2 day workshop for 21 undergraduate students, Bath Spa University.

Dec 2017 "Experimenting with robots at the intersection of art and technology", Pecha Kucha Kongsberg, Norway.  https://twitter.com/studio_tassy/status/935831890019471361

Nov 2017 "Robotics: Between Science and Art", Clevedon School. https://twitter.com/ClevedonDT/status/932959399215280128

Oct 2017 "Robotics & Creative Thinking", Redmaids High School.  https://twitter.com/RedmaidsHighDT/status/925377437868937218

Sep 2017 "Robot Native: Post-digital Futures"  https://www.watershed.co.uk/studio/events/2017/09/29/robot-native-post-digital-futures

Jun 2017 "Robots & Drawing", Royal West of England Academy, Bristol UK.  https://www.rwa.org.uk/whats-on/robots-and-drawing

Feb 2017 "UWE Bristol Talks: The Intersection of Art & Technology", Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol UK. https://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/uwe-bristol-talks-exploring-spaces-between-art-technology-and-design

Feb 2017 "Robotics research within the Arts", UWE Robotics Alumni Conference, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Bristol UK.

Oct 2016 "Make:Shift:Do, Printing Beyond the Flat Surface", Open Day, Centre for Fine Print Research, Bristol UK. http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/listings/makeshiftdo-at-the-centre-for-fine-print-research/

Oct 2015 "Textured 3D Printing", Multiplied Art Fair, Christies South Kensington, London UK. 

Feb 2015 "Vector Based Printing", Colour Group GB, City Campus UWE Bristol, Bristol UK.


Recent Press

Sep 2017, The Bristol Magazine: http://thebristolmag.co.uk/interview-paul-odowd/

Jul 2017, Mitsubishi Electric UK: https://youtu.be/NxgeESWS3z0

Oct 2015, Adam Proctor: https://vimeo.com/142191817


Artwork & Exhibitions


Jan 2018 "Skull", Robot Drawing/print edition 50, London Art Fair 2018, Business Design Centre London, UK.

Dec 2017 "Bonsai", Robot Drawing/print edition 60, Miniprint Exhibition 2017, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol UK.

Sep 2017 "Skull", Robot drawing/print edition 50, Affordable Art Fair, Engine Shed, Bristol.

Nov 2016 "Absence", Robot drawing/print edition of 60, Miniprint Exhibition 2016, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol UK.

Aug 2016 "Dummy Packet", Robot drawing/print, Set In Stone Exhibition, Tobacco Factory, Bristol UK.

Nov 2015 "Apis", Robot painting/print edition of 60, Miniprint Exhibition 2015, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol UK.


Bidding & Awards

2014 – 2015 The development of novel inkjet inks, AHRC Follow-on grant with Pulse Roll Label Products Ltd, £99993, Co-investigator

2014 – 2015 A Creative Approach to 3D print for Novel Methods of Fabrication, Grants for early career researchers at UWE £15,468, Principal Investigator

2012 Bristol University, RED New Enterprise Competition.  £10,750 cash prize & £2000 legal support.  Rusty Squid Limited: Arnold, B., McGoran, D., O’Dowd, P., Wakely, R.

2012 UBICOMP 2011 Best Paper Award, “Haptic Reassurance in the Pitch Black for an Immersive Theatre Experience”, van der Linden, J., Rogers, Y., Oshodi, M., Spiers, A., McGoran, D., Cronin, R. and O'Dowd, P.

2009 SAUC-E, 7th Place. Student Autonomous Underwater Competition – Europe: Initiated the University of the West of England's continuing participation, led a team of four undergraduate students, building a submarine robot in 3 months.

2009 Hack Bristol Competition, 1st Place. A sponsored competition by XMOS and Sun Microsystems, to find innovative implementations for the XC-1 multi-core processor within 2 days.  Led a team of three undergraduate students

2008 Supervised Research Programme Bursary.  £13,000 PA and tuition fee waiver.  Department of Design and Engineering, University of the West of England.

Jul 2008 Rising Star Award, Silicon South West Conference.  “Recognising the most promising undergraduate talent in electronics from Universities in the South West of England”.

2008 Best BSc Robotics Project, Degree Show, Bristol Institute of Technology, “Holonomic Motion Control and Wi-Fi Localisation”.

2007 Corporate Recognition Award, Digital Health Group, Intel Corporation.  For outstanding deliver of the first ever end-to-end Chelan County prototype to the NHS, demonstrating our ability to commit and deliver”. 


Teaching

2018 - Present, Laboratory Supervision BEng Robotics Introduction to Robotics and Electronics.  

2014 – Present MA Design, Co-leadership for modules Make, Play, Practice in a Professional Context, Live.  These modules are structured for students to develop and articulate a strong design portfolio with an emphasis on learning through making, finishing with their final exhibition.  In particular, I have advanced participatory and enactive workshops into the program as a key mechanism for education in design.  http://courses.uwe.ac.uk/W2001/design

2016 Internship Supervisor to Charlotte Biszewski, Nick Wilsher, George Rumney.  Rusty Squid Ltd.  http://madeinroathblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/mir-2016-moth.html

2016 Internship Supervisor to Samantha Alderslade, Centre for Fine Print Research

2015 Internship Supervisor to Nick Diacre, Centre for Fine Print Research http://www.uwe.ac.uk/sca/research/cfpr/staff/nick%20diacre/nick%20diacre.html

2013 Interactive Kinetics: Electronics for Art and Design, 2-day CPD course.

2009 – 2010 MSc Robotics, Lab Supervision for module Advanced Robotics.   One-to-one support to Masters students in their individual dissertation projects, facilitating their technical requirements.


Publications:

O'Dowd, P.  (2018) Robot Poetics: A Materially Sensitive Drawing Robot, In: Bowen, J., Diprose, G. and Lambert, N., eds. EVA London 2018 (Electronic Visualisation and the Arts), London, England, 10 - 13 July 2017. London: BCS Learning & Development Ltd.  [ In Press ]
This paper opens a discussion on robot poetics; an alternative perspective on the design of robotic technology. By considering robots as metaphorical constructs they may provide new knowledge on humanity. This position is explored relative to the ongoing development of a drawing robot which will behave sensitively to material aspects – both its own physical embodiment and worldly situation – to exhibit a visual art expression intrinsic to the robot. 

Aure, X., O'Dowd, P. and Padfield, J. (2017) Generating 3D models of paintings through the combination of 2D, 3D and RTI data. In: Bowen, J., Diprose, G. and Lambert, N., eds. EVA London 2017 (Electronic Visualisation and the Arts), London, England, 10 - 13 July 2017. London: BCS Learning & Development Ltd, pp. 25-32 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/32398
The National Gallery in London has recently been testing the potential of 3D scanning technology to record and measure the surface of paintings. To view and interact with the high-resolution scans requires expensive computational hardware. The proposed workflow borrows some of the techniques used in the gaming industry to provide a computationally efficient interactive interface, even suitable for online viewing. The workflow synergises multiple imaging techniques, and therefore provides better texture representation than 3D scanning alone. The process provides a new way of visualising possible relations across paint layers by combining normal maps with existing image based techniques.

Parraman, C., O'Dowd, P. and Harding, M. (2015) Painting by numbers: The development of texture in digitally printed artworks. In: McInnes, A., Tsekova, A., Andrei, C. and Ballantyne, L., eds. (2015) IMPACT 9 International Printmaking Conference. China: China Academy of Art Press, pp. 256-261. ISBN 9787550309579 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/27104
This paper considers alternative approaches to image making and printing that moves from the on-screen representation of images and painting applications, to the physical generation and methods for surface deposition or 2.5D printing. The research investigates the application of new materials and print processes, as an alternative to four-colour separation and halftoning, which departs from traditional halftone screening that uses a vector approach to image construction and printing. It describes the application of pigments that emulates a painting method to create an extruded or textured surface, but where the relationship of surface deposition and image are integral.

Parraman, C., O'Dowd, P. and Harding, M. (2015) Painting by numbers: Transforming fields and edges vectors. In: AIC2015, Ochanomizu Solar City Conference Centre, Tokyo, Japan, 19-22 May 2015. Tokyo: AIC Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25404
This paper considers alternative approaches to image making and printing that moves from the on-screen representation of images and painting applications, to the physical generation and methods for surface deposition or 2.5D printing. The research investigates the application of new materials and print processes, as an alternative to four-colour separation and half-toning and departs from traditional halftone screening that uses a vector approach to image construction. The first aspect of the paper describes a non-photorealistic rendering image segmentation algorithm that is used to create a series of colour texture layers. The second part of the paper describes a preparatory UV curing additive that can be used to increase the textured qualities of the brush strokes.

O'Dowd, P. (2015) The fluid dynamics of texture in digitally printed artworks. In: Technarte Conference 2015, Bilbao, Spain, 28-29 May 2015. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25403
This paper considers alternative approaches to image making and printing that moves from the on-screen representation of images and painting applications, to the physical generation and methods for surface deposition or 2.5D printing. The research investigates the application of new materials and print processes, as an alternative to four-colour separation and halftoning and departs from traditional halftone screening that uses a vector approach to image construction. This paper describes the application of pigments that emulates a painting method to create a physical textured surface. The objective is not to apply an image to an extruded or textured surface, but where the relationship of surface deposition and image are integral.

O'Dowd, P., Hoskins, S., Geisow, A. and Walters, P. (2015) Modulated extrusion for textured 3D printing. NIP & Digital Fabrication Conference, 2015 (1). 173 -178. ISSN 2169-4451 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25858
This research utilises a Fused Deposition Modelling 3D Printer to investigate the aesthetics of 3D printing and it's broader applications. The presented research re-evaluates the 3D printer as a tool to manipulate materials, as opposed to a machine that discretely reproduces digital models at a fine resolution. The research questions the utility of automation, and attempts to find a level that permits materially expressive modes of fabrication. The exploration of aesthetics has uncovered a variety of unexpected textures and interesting material properties that may have wider use. For instance, rigid plastic has been extruded and manipulated finer than the extrusion nozzle diameter, which confers flexibility and fabric like qualities to the printed object. The discovered techniques for 3D printed aesthetics are reproducibly reliable and can be incorporated back into orthodox digital-model driven fabrication.

O'Dowd, P., Studley, M. and Winfield, A. F. (2014) The distributed co-evolution of an on-board simulator and controller for swarm robot behaviours. Evolutionary Intelligence, 7 (2). pp. 95-106. ISSN 1864-5909 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/23450
We investigate the reality gap, specifically the environmental correspondence of an on-board simulator. We describe a novel distributed co-evolutionary approach to improve the transference of controllers that co-evolve with an on-board simulator. A novelty of our approach is the the potential to improve transference between simulation and reality without an explicit measurement between the two domains. We hypothesise that a variation of on-board simulator environment models across many robots can be competitively exploited by comparison of the real controller fitness of many robots. We hypothesise that the real controller fitness values across many robots can be taken as indicative of the varied fitness in environmental correspondence of on-board simulators, and used to inform the distributed evolution an on-board simulator environment model without explicit measurement of the real environment. Our results demonstrate that our approach creates an adaptive relationship between the on-board simulator environment model, the real world behaviour of the robots, and the state of the real environment. The results indicate that our approach is sensitive to whether the real behavioural performance of the robot is informative on the state real environment.

O'Dowd, P., Winfield, A. F. and Studley, M. (2011) The distributed co-evolution of an embodied simulator and controller for swarm robot behaviours. In: IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2011), San Francisco, USA, 25th - 30th September, 2011., pp. 4995-5000 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16294
Embodied fitness assessment of robotic controllers is slow but grounded, while assessment in a simulated environment is fast but can run foul of the ‘reality gap’. We present a distributed co-evolutionary method to adapt the environmental model of an on-board simulator within the context of swarm robotics.

van der Linden, J., Rogers, Y., Oshodi, M., Spiers, A., McGoran, D., Cronin, R. and O'Dowd, P. (2011) Haptic reassurance in the pitch black for an immersive theatre experience. In: Ubicomp 2011, Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 17th-21st September, 2011. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/15699
An immersive theatre experience was designed to raise awareness and question perceptions of ‘blindness’, through enabling both sighted and blind members to experience a similar reality. A multimodal experience was created, comprising ambient sounds and narratives – heard through headphones – and an assortment of themed tactile objects, intended to be felt. In addition, audience members were each provided with a novel haptic device that was designed to enhance their discovery of a pitch-black space. An in the wild study of the cultural experience showed how blind and sighted audience members had different ‘felt’ experiences, but that neither was a lesser one. Furthermore, the haptic device was found to encourage enactive exploration and provide reassurance of the environment for both sighted and blind people, rather than acting simply as a navigation guide. We discuss the potential of using haptic feedback to create cultural experiences for both blind and sighted people; rethinking current utilitarian framing of it as assistive technology.


 O'Dowd, P., Winfield, A. F. and Studley, M. (2010) Towards accelerated distributed evolution for adaptive behaviours in swarm robotics. In: Belpaeme, T., Bugmann, G., Melhuish, C. and Witkowski, M., eds. (2010) Proceedings of Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems 2010. University of Plymouth, pp. 169-175. ISBN 9781841022635 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/12746
The major problem facing swarm robotics is that of design. A recent promising approach is the application of evolutionary algorithms to solve the problem of decomposing group behaviour to that of interacting individual behaviours. This paper presents work conducted so far towards implementing the necessary framework to distribute an evolutionary algorithm across a swarm of robots, augmented with an embedded simulator to provide rapid life-time behavioural adaptability to each robot. The principle has been demonstrated through the distributed evolution of obstacle avoidance behaviour on varying group sizes of physical robots This paper provides preliminary results that validate the principle of an embedded simulator incorporated with distributed evolution, and shows a positive correlation between an increase in robot group size and the rate of distributed evolution. Finally, this paper describes further points to investigate in the presented experiment scenario and potential directions for future research.