Controls and Art: Inquiries at the Intersection of the Subjective and the Objective

The first book that documents and highlights the connections between systems theory and art as an important avenue of research, Controls and Art demonstrates how technical analyses of artistic pieces and performance can inspire the creation of new artistic forms, and broadens the purview of systems and control from the purely technical and technological to the artistic and imaginative. (Springer)

Just published: a book chapter in Controls and Art, co-authored with my former ETHZ colleagues Angela Schoellig, Federico Augugliaro and Raffaello D’Andrea. You can catch a preview of the chapter on Google Books.

More from Springer:

Controls_and_Art_FullDancing humanoids, robotic art installations, and music generated by mathematically precise methods are no longer science fiction; in fact they are the subject of this book. This first-of-its-kind anthology assembles technical research that makes such creations possible. In order to mechanize something as enigmatic and personal as dance, researchers must delve deeply into two distinct academic disciplines: control theory and art. Broadly, this research uses techniques from the world of art to inspire methods in control, enables artistic endeavours using advanced control theory and aids in the analysis of art using metrics devised by a systems theoretic approach.

To ensure that artistic influences are well represented, the individual chapters are focused so that they relate their contribution to the arts meaningfully and explicitly. Specially composed introductions set up the contributions either in terms of inspiration by artistic principles or their contribution to the arts through new analysis tools. To facilitate this, the majority of the chapters are authored jointly by experts in control theory and by artists, including dancers, choreographers, puppeteers and painters. Connections between controls and art then permeate the text so that these important relationships play a central role in the book.

Controls and Art surveys current projects in this area—including a disco dancing robot, a reactive museum exhibit and otherworldly music—and illuminates open problems and topics for research in this emerging interdisciplinary field. It will draw attention both from experts in robotics and control interested in developing the artistic side of their creations and from academics studying dance, theater, music and the visual arts with an interest in avant-garde means of production.

About the Editors

Amy LaViers is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia and the director of the Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab.  She completed an undergraduate thesis at Princeton University and a doctoral dissertation at Georgia Inst. of Technology that straddle the world of art and control engineering. Her thesis at Princeton received top thesis prizes and her dissertation at Georgia Tech was accompanied by a contemporary dance show entitled “Automaton.”  She is the co-organizer of two Invited Sessions (the first of their kind) on Controls and Art at the American Control Conference.  She received the ECE Graduate Teaching Excellence Award at Georgia Tech and the Calvin Dodd MacCracken Senior Thesis Prize, Morgan Mckenzie Senior Thesis Prize, and Lyman Page Dance Award at Princeton.


Magnus B. Egerstedt is a Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 2001. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the School of Interactive Computing with the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. Magnus Egerstedt received the M.S. degree in Engineering Physics and the Ph.D. degree in Applied Mathematics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, in 1996 and 2000 respectively, and he received the B.A. degree in Philosophy from Stockholm University in 1996. Dr. Egerstedt’s research interests include hybrid and networked control, with applications in motion planning, control and coordination of mobile robots, and he serves as Editor for Electronic Publications for the IEEE Control Systems Society and Associate Editor for the Journal of Discrete Event Systems and Nonlinear Analysis: Hybrid Systems. Magnus Egerstedt is the director of the Georgia Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (GRITS Lab), is a Fellow of the IEEE, received the ECE/GT Outstanding Junior Faculty Member Award in 2005, the Georgia Tech Teaching Efficiency Award in 2012, and the CAREER Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation in 2003.


Other contributors – for Controls and Art, Amy LaViers and Magnus Egerstedt (Eds.):


Frederico Augugliaro, ETH Zurich

John Baillieul, Professor Boston University

Rodrigo F. Cadiz, Pontificia Universidad Cato ́lica de Chile

Luis Ignacio Reyes Castro, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Willa Chen, Princeton University

Marco Colasso, Pontificia Universidad Cato ́lica de Chile

Raffaello D’Andrea, Professor, ETH Zurich

Katherine Fitch, Princeton University

Andrew B. Godbehere, University of California – Berkeley

Ken Goldberg, Professor, University of California – Berkeley

Jason von Heinz Meyer, Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, GA

Kelsey Hochgraf, Princeton University

Cristian Huepe, CHuepe Labs

Elizabeth Jochum, Northwestern University

Elliot Johnson, Northwestern University

Peter Kingston, Georgia Institute of Technology

Naomi Leonard, Edwin Wiley Professor, Princeton University

Susan Marshall, Director, Professor of Dance, Princeton University

Todd Murphey, Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Kayhan Özcimder, Boston University

Angela Schoellig, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Jarvis Shultz, Northwestern University

Hallie Siegel, ETH Zurich

Daniel T. Swain, Princeton University

Lori Teague, Director and Associate Professor, Emory University

Aaron Trippe, Princeton University
Panagiotis Tsiotras, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

George F. Young, Princeton University