New grant to create biomedicine robotic art

Dr Erica Tandori, artist-in-residence within the lab of ARC Laureate fellow, Professor Jamie Rossjohn, in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging (Imaging CoE) at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) has been awarded a grant from Creative Victoria to explore new modelling techniques and create biomedicine art sculptures.

Over the last 18 months, Dr Tandori has developed tactile sculptures for exhibitions to explain biomedical concepts to the low vision and blind community. The newly awarded $30, 270 grant, is an opportunity for Dr Tandori to upskill and work with two techniques that she hasn’t used before – robotics and computer imaging. Using robotics and imaging, Dr Tandori will create 3D art to explain the relationship between form and function in HIV and proteins.

“As an artist, it’s amazing to be able to explore the concept by not only thinking about the picture but the actual shape. The sculptures and the exhibitions help everyone – not just the low vision community,” said Dr Tandori.

Dr Tandori will work with Swinburne’s Interaction Design Lab and Protolab to create the interactive pieces, incorporating Braille, sound and movement.  She’ll learn to use 3D technology, and explore integrating robotics, computer imaging, and organic material to explain the scientific process of protein folding and how the HIV virus infects the human body.

The sculptures give the low vision community an opportunity to hold 3D models to understand the human body, and also allow scientists and students to hold aspects of their own research.

“I can’t wait to get started! It’s such a privilege to return science to art, and art to science – just as Leonardo da Vinci once did,” Dr Tandori said.

Dr Tandori will be showcasing her current artwork at an upcoming Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day. The half-day scientific exhibition conducted by the Monash BDI Cancer Program will be held on Friday 6 December 6. More information and register.

Dr Tandori is a legally-blind artist, academic and public speaker. She has a PhD in visual art and ophthalmology, in which she used art to articulate the processes of her own vision loss caused by juvenile macular degeneration. Since being diagnosed with the degenerative disease in her first year of art school, Dr Tandori has devoted her art-making and research to an examination of what it means to experience living with vision loss.

Original article