Meet Arth-E, an anxious artificial arthropod that is surviving in the barren yet dangerous desert. Most of the time, Arth-E stays in its burrow, hiding from any potential threats, mainly human intervention. However, it sometimes has to go out to the treacherous outside world in search of food. While doing so, Arth-E is constantly anxious and careful. When Arth-E detects any sudden change in light or sound, it panics and moves backward.

The Film


Typically, arthropods—like beetles and spiders—are not the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of the desert. However, they occupy a very central and expansive role in the desert ecosystem. This project sheds light on these invisible yet resilient lives of the desert. It replicates desert arthropods’ ways of survival, specifically their instinct to stay away from dangers and respond to external stimuli. Arth-E draws inspiration from Wheggo in terms of the look, and Wall-E in terms of the character of the robot, and hence the name itself.

Technical Implementation and Interaction

The robot has an onboard microphone and light sensor. When the robot detects a loud sound or a sudden change in light, it retreats back. The wheggs are 3D printed and made to suit the unpredictable desert terrain. Arth-E’s body is made using wood, that was laser cut to mimic the tapering bodies of insects and arthropods. It’s powered by the Adafruit M4 Express using CircuitPython.

Field Installation

Filming Arth-E, Field Installation

Interactive Media Showcase, Fall 2022

We have created a mini desert environment for Arth-E to display the piece to our viewers for the Interactive Media program’s End of Semester Show. Viewers have interacted with the robot, and were amazed by the set and the film.

Viewers interacting with Arth-E
Prof. Aaron Sherwood, watching the film – Anxious Arth-E

Arth-E on display

Group Members

Armaan Agrawal, Amy Kang, Injoo Kang, Sri Pranav Srivatsavai

Sincere thanks to Prof. Michael Ang for his constant guidance and feedback throughout.

Relevant Links

Arth-E Blog: This blog covers the important elements of Arth-E ranging from the proposal of the topic to the final prototype, field installation, and the film.

Arth-E GitHub Repo