about me
niklas roy
Hello! I'm Niklas Roy, an inventor of useless things. As you can find a lot of information about what I do on the left - I think I don't need to write too much about myself here.

If you want to get in touch with me, you can find my contact details here. In order to stay up to date, subscribe to my RSS feed. For realtime news, follow me on Twitter. Subscribe to my Youtube Channel or have a look at plenty of hires images in my Picasa albums.


Workshop at Art School Basel

Wednesday August 27, 2014

I just returned from Basel, where I conducted a workshop series for Hyperwerk, the Institute for Postindustrial Design of the local art school. Our aim was to develop concepts for mobile collapsible spaces, which the students can use for upcoming exhibitions.

During two weeks, plenty of interesting ideas emerged. Too many to present them all on my website. So I will just show you the project of Elisa Petri and Fabian Ritzi, as I personally found it very charming and funny.

They both came up with a mini multi purpose presentation cabin on wheels – without floor. The idea was, that they could walk around with that cabin, which worked really well. I can imagine that this extreme mobility can cause very surprising social interactions with visitors in exhibition situations.

Their cabin was built mostly out of recycled materials which they have obtained from companies in the industrial area that surrounds the art school. One side wall was made out of a used transport crate, the back wall was made out of old offset printing plates, the other side wall was a collage of cardboard sheets and plastic bottles. But the highlight was the roof: Elisa and Fabian got their hands on a broken solar panel, which we revived, and at the end it was powering a little DC gear motor that spun a flower pot.

On its back, the cabin has a little door, which makes it easy to enter it and to leave it. And even though the cabin is small, it is a bit too big for being transported it in a car. So the entire construction can be disassembled and assembled again in just a few minutes, without any tools. The trick is, that all the walls just plug into the roof and into a floor frame. And at the end, the whole construction is simply locked together with four seat belts.

That’s the cabin ready for transport. It can be easily rolled around on the floor frame.

New installation on the road!

Monday June 9, 2014

Today I’m driving to Groningen. In the back of the car is my new installation “Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator” which I’ll exhibit at Bernard Tschumi’s splendid crystal palace from the 90s.

You are hereby invited to join the grand opening which happens next Saturday (June 14th) at 4PM. Don’t miss it, because there will be free drinks!
Here’s a map.

Pneumatic Sponge Ball Accelerator

New installation in Kraków

Thursday March 20, 2014

I have written already earlier about my new installation in Kraków/Poland, called

“Suck the Balls!”.

It is part of “SPIELTRIEB!”, a project about the play in art, science in society, organized by Goethe-Institut Krakau.

The interactive kinetic installation combines a huge vacuum cleaner powered pneumatic tube transport with a small sized ball pit. The exhibition will go on until December, so there’s still plenty of time to visit it and to play with it!

During the last weeks, I was working on an elaborate documentation, which is now online. You can find it here. Don’t miss it!

For the lazy clickers out there, I have also embedded the video of the setup in Kraków here:

[ Edit: Added those supercool GIFs from Prosthetic Knowledge ]

Upcoming exhibition opening in Kraków

Monday March 3, 2014

This week on Thursday, 6PM, the project ‘Spieltrieb – the play in art, science and society’ will be kicked off at Goethe Institut Kraków. The project includes a one year exhibition of my new installation “Suck the Balls!” right at the Potocki Palace at Kraków’s main square (which is actually the Goethe Kraków headquarter).

Günter Schulz is testing

The construction consists of a little ball pit, a vacuum cleaner powered pneumatic tube transport and a ball shower.

Before I went to Kraków last week to set up the machine in the beautiful historic staircase of the palace, I asked my friend and technology aficionado Günter Schulz to come over to my workshop for some beta testing.

For further video analysis, I filmed Günter executing various performance tests.
Please analyze yourself:

Explosive Digital Data Storage

Monday March 3, 2014

Huh, it really has been a while since I updated my website! But here is finally the video of the installation which I made together with the Polish artist group panGenerator. Our idea was to create a digital data storage device with unclear capacity: If you fill it up too much with data, it will explode.

Data can be entered with a keyboard. Each letter which is entered into the balloon is also spoken out loud. And you can release previeously stored data again by hitting backspace. That will spell out old information and deflate the balloon.

The installation was built within a week, so there was not much time for testing. And at the end it turned out that it is rather hard to let the balloon explode. Such a balloon can really store quite a large amount of data :) And that’s also the reason why there’s no explosion to see in the otherwise really beautiful video :(

Thanks to Poland’s National Audiovisual Institute for inviting me to collaborate with the nice folks from panGenerator!

New Installation in Warsaw

Friday October 25, 2013

The National Audiovisual Institute of Poland invited me and the artist collective panGenerator to make a new installation. We called it “Explosive Digital Data Storage”. You can see it (and try it out) at Kordegarda Gallery in Warsaw for the next two weeks. Below is a picture of the opening and soon, I’ll publish a documentation.


Photo by Bartek Warzecha for NInA

Cyborg Workshop Documentation!

Wednesday October 9, 2013

The graffiti exoskeleton
Our cyborg workshop in Belgium last week was a huge success – now you can find the documentation about it here!

All cyborgs will be also presented at KIKK Festival, which will happen from November 7th-9th in the Theater of Namur.

Photo above: The graffiti exoskeleton. One of many exciting cyborg constructions which were built in the workshop!

Carlotta's Robot

Sunday September 29, 2013

My niece visited us this weekend – and she had a plan: She wanted to build a robot, because she finds robots cool. So she did:

Here’s the result. His name is “Robomobo”:

Upcoming D. I. Y. Cyborg Workshop

Sunday September 1, 2013

[UPDATE: Application deadline is extended until September 25th!]

I’m happy to announce that Kati and me will conduct a super duper CYBORG WORKSHOP early October in Namur/Belgium! It takes place in an old church – a fantastic venue for reaching the next level of human evolution. Another excellent reason for joining this awesome three day workshop is that it costs only 20€ including foodz & materialz!

From the official workshop website:

During the three workshop days the participants will turn themselves from regular mortals into do-it-yourself cyborgs. By inventing and constructing wearable mechanical technologies from a pool of funny materials gathered from the hardware store, we will alter the way how our bodies interact with the surrounding world. If you ever dreamed of seeing 360° without turning your head or hearing through walls, come and make your cyborg dream come true. A pile of funnels, hoses, mirrors, welding helmets, harnesses and whatever else are waiting for your creativity to take over. No previous experience is required, just a vision for the future of human kind.

KIKK organizes the Cyborg workshop together with another great workshop hosted by my good friend Julien Maire. In his workshop, you can construct a mechatronic sculpture from old scanners and printers. If you’d like to participate at either Julien’s or our workshop, you can apply until September 15th here.

We are so extraordinarily excited about the upcoming workshop that we could not resist doing some hands on research already. This resulted in two fascinating cyborg constructions – may the inspiration be with you:

The head level extender

I am not very tall. Not that I’d care too much about this, but sometimes being a bit taller would be quite handy. Like in the cinema, at concerts or when dusting the top of my bookshelf. So I built a head level extender – a wearable device, which makes me one head taller. The very lightweight construction consists of a periscope (which is easily adjustable to look up and down) and an audio elevator:

The head level extender

Since the Cyborg workshop will be a lot about recombining interesting materials from the hardware store (and from 1€ shops), here’s what I used to build it:

1. Large piece of mirroring polystyrol glued on foam PVC
2. Plastic funnel (upper sonic pickup)
3. Smaller piece of mirroring polystyrol glued on foam PVC
4. Custom built manual mirror adjustment knobs (foam PVC with soft blue rubber coating)
5. PVC foam frame construction
6. Driving belt and gears from an old ink-jet printer (mirror adjustment system)
7. Plastic hose (for upper sound transmission)
8. Shoe laces (for hose position adjustment)
9. Construction helmet (I cut off a lot of unnecessary plastic)
10. Still some plastic hose
11. Earmuffs (reconfigurated as stereophonic playback adaptors)

The head level extender – parts

The personal rainbow generator

While I was working on my helmet, Kati came up with the idea that she’d like to have a permanent rainbow above her head. That was easy to achieve, as we had all the required materials in the basement already. The rainbow generator is a combination of an umbrella hat and a garden sprayer. The only additional thing which is required is sunlight.

The personal rainbow generator

Here’s the detailed material list:

1. rainbow umbrella hat
2. rainbow release nozzle
3. custom adaptor piece (soldered out of brass sheet and copper pipe)
4. hand pump (to pressurize H²O container)
5. H²O pressure container
6. rainbow strap shoulder mount
7. rainbow release button
8. decorative rainbow glitter foil on the rainbow container

The personal rainbow generator - parts


Tuesday August 6, 2013

When I was invited to show My Little Piece of Privacy at Sherbrooke’s Media Art Biennial Éspace [IM] Média, I decided that I had to modify the installation:


Sherbrooke’s downtown has many abandoned shop fronts. My installation was set up in one of them. And as nobody likes to stroll in roads with empty shop windows, I wanted to do this retail space a favour and help it to find a new tenant who can care about it.

[ more… ]


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