Drawing by the Draughtsman-Writer Bot ca. 1800

Bots 'n' Plots — Malen nach 0 und 1

Lecturer: Martin Schneider
Credits: 6 ECTS, 4 SWS
Date: Wednesday 17:00 - 20:30 Uhr
Venue: Marienstraße 7b, Room 204
First meeting: Wednesday, 15. Apr. 2015


>>> We will be screening our bots during the Summaery 2015 at the Digital Bauhaus Lab <<<


Save the date: Thursday 09.07.15, 20:00 – 23:00

Twitterbots at the Summaery:

  • Awkward Bot (@awk_bot) combining akward pictures with awkward questions
  • Animal Faces Bot (@animalize_it), an animalistic face substitution bot
  • Picturius Bottian (@picturius), a photoshop-like filter effects bot
  • 3D Bot (@uipluis), make a 3D image!
  • Kaleidogif Bot (@kaleidogif), feat. animated kaleidoscopic gifs
  • 8bit Bot (@8bitify), retro computifies everything!
  • Imagesorting Bot (@JHDrop), messing up pixels since 2015

Check out the List of Twitter-Bots running on our brand new Videowall.
Send them a tweet with an image to see what they do.
Or just follow @botsnplots on Twitter.


The internet of things is infiltrating the social web.
A rich ecosystem of social bots is evolving right now.
Those bots range from the purposeful via the poetic to the philosophical.
And they are starting to talk to each other.

In the Bots 'n' Plots course, we will create little robots that doodle and babble.
Our robots will be based in software, but we will also learn how to connect them with the physical world, using vision sound and serial connections.

In the course of the class you will:

  • Learn programming with Python
  • Process images and text
  • Create generative drawings and poems
  • Use APIs for the social web, including Twitter and Mediawiki
  • Create your own software bots and make them talk to each other

The course requires no previous programming experience.

As a result of the course you will acquire fundamental programming skills that will enable you to take more advanced courses in the future.

It is recommended to combine the course with the eval(nature) module.


Das Internet der Dinge erobert die sozialen Netzwerke.
Im Augenblick entwickelt sich ein vielfältiges Ökosystem sozialer Bots.
Die Bots decken ein weites Spektrum ab, vom Praktischen, über Poetisches bis hin zum Philosophischen.
Und sie fangen an miteinander zu kommunizieren...

In Malen nach 0 und 1 werden wir kleine Roboter erschaffen, die kritzeln und brabbeln.
Unsere Roboter bestehen aus Nullen und Einsen, aber wir werden auch lernen sie mit der materiellen Welt zu verbinden, wobei Kameras, Töne und Kabel zum Einsatz kommen.

Im Rahmen des Moduls werdet ihr:

  • Programmieren mit Python lernen
  • Grafik und Text verarbeiten
  • Generative Grafiken und Gedichte erzeugen
  • APIs für Soziale Netzwerke nutzen, inkl. Twitter und Mediawiki
  • Eigene Software-Bots entwickeln und sie dazu bringen miteinander zu reden.

Dieses Modul erfordert keine Programmierkentnisse.

Im Rahmen des Kurses werden grundlegende Programmierkentnisse vermittelt, die es ermöglichen in Zukunft fortgeschrittene Kurse zu belegen.
Es wird empfohlen diesen Kurs mit dem Projekt-Modul eval(nature) zu kombinieren.


  • Presence and active participation (required)
  • Punctual and complete submission of homework (required)
  • 50% Technical and aesthetic execution of the final bot project
  • 20% Emergent behaviour from making the robots talk
  • 20% Documentation of the final project
  • 10% Contribution to the MediaWiki



The course will be in English, unless all participants are speaking German.

Eligible Participants

Undergraduates and graduates enrolled in the faculties of:

  • Media Art/Design
  • Visual Communication


  • Burning Interest in Artificial Intelligence, Computer-Linguistics and Generative Design
  • Previous course about the Internet of Things highly recommended
  • Working knowledge of Web Technologies (HTML[[HTML|Hypertext Markup Language]], CSS[[CSS|Cascading Style Sheets]], Javascript ...)
  • Time and Devotion for lots of coding homework, which may be frustrating at times
  • Programming experience considered helpful


The deadline to apply for this course is April 13th, 2015

You need to provide links to previous work to be elligible to this course.

To: Martin Schneider
Subject: Bots n Plots /// Application

  1. Please provide links to three of your visual, poetic or algorithmic works online.
  2. Please answer these questions:
    • What is your favourite bot on twitter?
    • What kind of bot would you like to be able to create at the end of the course?
  3. Please tell us about you:
    • program and semester (Studienprogramm und Fachsemester)
    • matriculation number (Matrikelnummer)
    • Valid email address @uni-weimar.de (no other mailing addresses will be accepted) Why?


This is the outline of the course.
The details may still be subject to change.
Theme Topic Date
Part 1: Python 01: Programming I 15. April 2015
02: Programming II 22. April 2015
Part 2: Plotter Bots 03: Drawing and Plotting I 29. April 2015
04: Drawing and Plotting II 06. May 2015
05: Image Processing I 13. May 2015
06: Image Processing II 20. May 2015
Part 3: Chatter Bots 07: Language Processing I 27. May 2015
08: Language Processing II 03. June 2015
09: Generating Poetry 10. June 2015
Part 4: Social Bots 10: Twitter Bots I 17. June 2015
11: Twitter Bots II 24. June 2015
12: WikiHaiwaiian for ''fast'' (not an acronym). It is the name for a hypertext system for websites where the user may not only read the content but is also able to change it instantaneously through the browser. Bots I 01. July 2015
13: WikiHaiwaiian for ''fast'' (not an acronym). It is the name for a hypertext system for websites where the user may not only read the content but is also able to change it instantaneously through the browser. Bots II 08. July 2015


Here are a couple of links that should give you an idea of where this course is heading ...

Learning Python

Image Processing

Video Processing



Analysis and Synthesis


Number Crunching

Language Processing


Contributions by Students



This is a list of recommended books for the Python language:

Further Reading

There are a couple of books in the Semesterapparat of Society of Networked Things, that you might want to flip trough.