Tens of thousands of people are this summer visiting Renishaw’s Gromitronic, one of the ground-breaking interactive sculptures featured in the first interactive trail of its kind, Gromit Unleashed 2. Organised by The Grand Appeal, the 67-sculpture trail is raising money for Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol. Renishaw’s interactive Gromit can be found at M Shed in Bristol until Sunday 2nd September, 2018.
Gromitronic is one of three interactive ‘Trailblazer’ sculptures on the trail, the first of their kind in the world. A team of young engineers from Gloucestershire-based engineering company, Renishaw, including apprentices and graduates, designed and built Gromitronic with the help of Dave Collingwood, Principal Engineer, using a range of engineering skills and technologies, including software engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics and metal additive manufacturing (3D printing).
Visitors to the trail have the opportunity to interact with Gromitronic by touching his plasma ball nose, pressing buttons on his back and controlling the light sequence across the sculpture. Some features, such as his moving tail and collar were additively manufactured from titanium and aluminium powder using Renishaw’s machines. Visitors that look closely may also spot some additively manufactured Bristol landmarks, such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol Cathedral, in the studs in Gromitronic’s collar.
Sarah Cannon, the Project Manager of the Renishaw team explains: “The Grand Appeal is a fantastic local cause, benefitting young people across the South West and South Wales region and in Renishaw’s catchment area. Our young team has created Gromitronic to work like a circuit board, so every button operates something different.
“Gromitronic celebrates the history of electronics as well as innovation and invention in Bristol. The sculpture is fully interactive so that it will excite visitors, but we also want to start conversations about the engineering skills required to build our character.”
Renishaw is one of three Trailblazers playing a role in making the trail a success. Gromitronic joins Gromjet, built by Rolls-Royce and A Grand Gromplication, built by engineers at the University of Bristol, as the only interactive figures of the 67 on show. Throughout the two months of the trail Renishaw employees are in attendance at M Shed to discuss the engineering technologies used in the creation of Gromitronic and careers within the engineering sector.
Gromit Unleashed 2 is the third sculpture trail organised by the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity The Grand Appeal, featuring the iconic Aardman characters, to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital. Since 1995, The Grand Appeal has raised over £50 million to save lives and support children and their families from across the South West, South Wales and beyond.
You can find Gromitronic at M Shed from Monday July 2nd to Sunday September 2nd, 2018. He is joined by other sculptures of Gromit, Wallace and Feathers McGraw across the city and the surrounding area, all decorated by high-profile artists, designers, innovators and local talent. For more information about the charity’s work in the South West and beyond, visit www.grandappeal.org.uk. To find out more about Renishaw visit www.renishaw.com.