Robotic arms have long been a common sight in many industries. They are currently making a rapid entry into art and design studios and practices. Yet, at the same time, difficulties remain in accessing the workflows and work methods demanded by these machines given a clear lack of reference resources. The research project “A Third Hand” uses applied case studies to explore and define a set of exemplary work methods, capable of both informing and inspiring future users.

The Research Project “A Third Hand – Creative Applications for Robotics” is conducted at ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland by AATB (Andrea Anner & Thibault Brevet), Alain Bellet and Martin Hertig.

Brush Holder by AATB

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the project Creative Applications for Robotics is to propose a set of relevant examples of the uses of robotic arms along with some solutions to recurring problems, that can be tested, evaluated and implemented. We seek to offer a reference work for designers and artists prepared to work with robotic arms, whatever their level of expertise (professionals, students or researchers).

Our research goals can be summarised as follows:

  1. To develop a toolbox that describes what is involved in working with robotic arms and produce recommendations for an optimal choice of tools and methods suitable for a community of creators.
  2. To introduce designers and artists to robotic arms with a view to developing creative and inspirational projects.
  3. To stimulate interest in using these robots by developing inspirational examples of creative applications.
  4. To address potential points of friction arising from the use of these technologies by the creative community and offer possible solutions.
  5. To provide a reference resource for designers and artists willing to use these machines in their projects and processes.


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