The original headline calls it a ‘robotic artist’ but while it’s interesting it’s about as much art as one of those adult coloring books that are presently a fad.
The computerized technique, which basically spray paints a photo, isn’t likely to spawn a wave of giant graffiti, but it can be used in digital fabrication, digital and visual arts, artistic stylization and other applications.
The researchers wanted to create a way to help non-artists create accurate reproductions of photographs as large-scale murals using spray painting. So, they developed a computer-aided system that uses an ordinary paint spray can, tracks the can’s position relative to the wall or canvas and recognizes what image it “wants” to paint. As the person waves the pre-programmed spray can around the canvas, the system automatically operates the spray on/off button to reproduce the specific image as a spray painting.
This is a video of it in action, unfortunately it won’t embed.
The prototype is fast and light-weight: it includes two webcams and QR-coded cubes for tracking, and a small actuation device for the spray can, attached via a 3D-printed mount. Paint commands are transmitted via radio directly connected to a servo-motor operating the spray nozzle. Running on a nearby computer, the real-time algorithm determines the optimal amount of paint of the current color to spray at the spray can’s tracked location. The end result is that the painting reveals itself as the user waves the can around, without the user necessarily needing to know the image beforehand.