Campus news in brief

CMU Computer Club finds Warhol art

The Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club — with help from The Andy Warhol Museum (AWM), Carnegie Mellon’s Frank Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and New York-based artist Cory Arcangel — recently found several previously undiscovered works of art by alumnus Andy Warhol (CFA ‘49).

Warhol’s art had been stored digitally on Amiga floppy disks, found in the archive collection of the AWM. Arcangel started the investigation into the disks after seeing a 1985 Commodore International infomercial that advertised an experiment Warhol did, commissioned by Commodore. Warhol’s work was meant to demonstrate the graphic design power of the Amiga 1000 personal computer.

After finding the disks in the AWM’s archives, Arcangel worked with the Computer Club to read the outdated diskettes. The floppy disks — originally used for the computer system and applications — contained files with promising names like “campbells.pic” and “marilyn1.pic.” The format of the images, however, was unknown. When Computer Club members reverse-engineered the format they revealed 28 new works by Warhol covering subjects from the well-known Campbell’s soup can to Botticelli’s Venus.

“What’s amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital,” Arcangel said in a university press release.

The team’s process and findings are documented in the Hillman Photography Initiative’s “Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments,” which premieres Saturday, May 10 at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh.

Girls of Steel work with CMU Robotics

The Girls of Steel, a group of high-school girls from the Pittsburgh area, tested their mettle at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in St. Louis last week.

The Girls of Steel are already experienced, having helped members of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute to build the Autodesk ReCap Robot, which uses the 3-D design software Autodesk to create 3-D models.

Rachel Round, a home-schooled senior from Harrison City, built the robot’s sheet-metal housing. “It was a unique experience,” Round said in a university press release.

The robot the Girls of Steel created takes data from laser scanners to create a 3-D point cloud modeling an interior space. For the FIRST competition, the Girls of Steel designed and built a robot to do a specific task; their robot catches and throws 24-inch balls. The ReCap Robot was designed with help from Carnegie Mellon roboticists, who ensured that it met professional standards.

“I knew CMU’s Robotics Institute did fantastic work,” said Aaron Morris, product manager for Autodesk’s Reality Solutions Group, in a university press release. “That they were able to build this robot in only a month’s time, and make it audience-safe, has only strengthened my appreciation for their capabilities.”