Interactive Media Arts Capstone Proposal

Robot Artist: A robot that draws

My project is to build a robot artist that draws with a human drawing instrument on a flat surface it sits on. The chassis of the robot will be circular shape and it will be made with either a laser cutter or a 3D printer. The robot will have four omni wheels so as to be able to move to all directions, which is perfect for drawing. However, my experience tells me it is very hard to make the movement accurate with four omni wheels, which is an issue I need to do more research on. There will be a drawing instrument holder at the center of the robot, the height of which will be controlled by a motor so that the drawing instrument can be lift up and put down. The robot will also have at least four ultrasonic sensors to detect the distances from each side to the wall. Ideally, the robot will be put inside of rectangular space with a wall on each side so that the robot can navigate itself based on its distance to each side. If the robot is put to an open space, or non-rectangular space, it may estimate its position with the turnings of each wheel, which might not be very accurate.

The robot will also come with a camera so as to observe the world. The drawing it does will be based on the environment or the picture it captures. The robot will either draw realistically what it sees with the camera or abstractly what it feels with different sensors. Since the former will involve some heavy image processing, I’m thinking about using a Raspberry Pi as its brain. The image processing will either done locally on the Raspberry Pi or externally on a server and then sent back to the robot. As for the image processing program, I will write my own if that’s what I will do for my computer science capstone, otherwise, I will look for existing libraries and customize them for my needs. The image processing program will either convert an image to GCode or to a bitmap. If it is GCode, the robot will draw like a 3D printer, and if it is bitmap, the robot will draw like a dot matrix printer.

Below is a general timeline for the robot’s function:

  1. Being able to move smoothly and accurately on a surface.
  2. Being able to navigate in a rectangular space.
  3. Being able to hold a drawing instrument and draw dots.
  4. Being able to draw lines and then simple shapes. (minimal viable product)
  5. Being able to draw a bit complicated shapes with GCode.
  6. Being able to convert an image to GCode or a bitmap.
  7. Being able to take a picture and do a monochrome drawing.
  8. Being able to hold multiple writing instruments.
  9. Being able to do drawings with multiple writing instruments.
  10. Being able to draw in an open space.
  11. Being able to make more smart decisions.
  12. Being able to do other possible things that come to my mind.

Relevant Projects

  1. Robot Navigation
  2. Robot Artist
  3. e-David
  4. Cloud Painter
  5. bitPaintr
  6. ZUtA
  7. AxiDraw
  8. Low-Cost, Arduino-Compatible Drawing Robot
  9. Otto

Robots and Arts: Is the robot artist the real creator of its artworks

Intention is one of the most important things to an artist, but to arts historians, the results are of more importance. The paper would first question whether or not intention is necessary to make artworks, then to the question of whether or not robot artists have intentions. Do intentions come from the creator of the robot? Is the creator of the robot artist the real creator of the artworks? Is robot a tool of creating arts or is the robot piece of artwork itself.

Relevant Texts

  1. (¼) Can robots make art? Yes, but don’t ask them to write a poem <http://www.pcworld.com/article/3072669/analytics/can-robots-make-art-yes-but-dont-ask-them-to-write-a-poem.html>
  2. (¼) Can robots truly be creative and use their imagination? <https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/10/can-robots-be-creative>
  3. (¼) It’s Happening: Robots May Be The Creative Artists Of The Future <http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/happening-robots-may-creative-artists-future/>
  4. (¼) Robot Art Raises Questions about Human Creativity <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600762/robot-art-raises-questions-about-human-creativity/>
  5. (¼) You Can Give A Robot A Paintbrush, But Does It Create Art? <http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/12/06/458347976/you-can-give-a-robot-a-paintbrush-but-does-it-create-art>
  6. (½) Golan Levin: Art that looks back at you <https://www.ted.com/talks/golan_levin_ted2009>
  7. (1) A humanoid robot drawing human portraits <http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1573562/?arnumber=1573562>
  8. (1) Example-based composite sketching of human portraits <http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=987657.987673>
  9. (½) The Importance of the Artist’s Intent <http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=749>
  10. (1) Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study <http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0199278067.001.0001/acprof-9780199278060>
  11. (1) The Concept of Intention in Art Criticism <https://www.jstor.org/stable/2022698?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents>

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