This year, Frankenstein certainly isn’t just for the humanities.
Teams of mechanical engineers in Dr. Jamie Canino’s and Dr. Kendall Teichert’s classes this semester were grouped up to build robots based on Mary Shelley’s classic, each putting their own spin on both thematic and literal aspects of the work. From Frankenstein coming to peace with himself to the creature trying to find acceptance among people who misunderstand and revile him—these robots tackled deep subject matter in an unconventional way.
HAC professors Dr. Cassandra Bausman and Dr. Jeanette Goddard visited the classes during the semester to provide extra insight into the novel. Dr. Goddard said, “Students examined how the ethical dilemmas that Victor Frankenstein faced when doing cutting edge science might still be issues for them as engineers in the 21st century. And framing engineering problems with the novel resulted in some really cool robots!”
Dr. Bausman concurred about the unique robots. “We saw robots who valued the importance of friendship and could recognize a ‘friend’ and pluck him up and carry him along on its journey, robots who climbed a mountain to wave a peace flag, robots who could run from angry/frightened human screams and a bunch of other fun interpretations,” Bausman said. “It was a lovely way to see the sciences and the arts working together and informing and taking inspiration from each other.”
Bausman added that as her Frankenstein class has recently started reading fiction about AIs and even written by AIs, the pairing was especially fruitful for Trine students to experience first-hand.
Check out our photo gallery below to get a little more acquainted with the creations that they brought to life.