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Mural Painting Robot

Robots do a whole lot of activities previously done only by humans. From car assembling to actual driving, farming to bartending, robots have now more than ever taken much of the work that people used to do on their shoulders. Most importantly, these machines are more efficient than us, cutting a large chunk of the time we can naturally take to accomplish a task.

Perhaps the latest application of robotic technology is in the art industry, particularly mural painting. A few companies pioneered by some leading mural artists have recently introduced wall-crawling robots that paint murals (large or small) on almost any surface. This is something that can transform cities, public spaces, communities, and homes in just a matter of days.

The name on everyone’s lips at the moment is Mikhel Joala, the inventor of the mural painting robot Albert and founder of the company Sprayprinter. Joala is a street artist originally from Estonia and he says Albert can paint murals up to 100 times faster than humans.

“It’s definitely going to change how to think about street art,” Joala said in an interview with sfgate.com.

“But I think that Albert can coexist with hand painting artists because a printed image is always going to be different than a painted one.”

How it works

The mural painting robot works much like a traditional printer, using small dots of color to create a variety of colors and details.

Robot Albert, for instance, comes in two parts. First is the printhead that carries about six cans of spray paint. The other component is the spooling mechanism with cords that attach to the printhead and which also guides it around the wall.

The spooling mechanism additionally features a built-in computer interface where images can be uploaded for printing. It means the robot does not come up with its art, but that’s something clever minds like Joala are working on for the future. As the robot drifts around a surface, it constantly sprays dots of paint onto it and eventually, an image appears.

Typically, robot muralists use an intelligent algorithm to calculate how the image will be scaled on the wall. The machine can spray 1 sq.m per minute, a super-fast application for a task that could take weeks or months if hand-painted by a mural artist.

What has been done so far?

This art technology is still in its early stages but there are a couple of works out there to show its capability. Sprayprinter, for instance, has created murals on the sides of buildings in Joala’s native Estonia as well as northern California.

In 2016, Sprayprinter painted a large mural of Albert Einstein onto the wall of a four-story office building in the company’s hometown, Tartu, Estonia. Armed with three cans of spray paint, it took the robot just five hours to complete the giant mural.

In July 2017, Joala’s prototype also painted a 30-meter high mural on an industrial chimney using five cans of spray paint, a job that took a mere 14 hours to finish. During the time, Joala said the robot can create images three times more than the size of the 30m mural. The beauty of his invention is its scalability, which he said will empower them to break the world record for the biggest mural in the world.

Last year, robot Albert painted a mural in SoMa in March, San Jose in May and two others in California on September 2018.

Another San Jose based startup Vibot was also involved in painting a two-story-high mural on the side of a building in the city’s downtown, using robot technology. Asked whether the technology is here to steal artists’ jobs, Vibot CFO Yeong-Sae said:

example of nissan ad painted by mural painting robot“We’re certainly not trying to take small platforms away from muralists, that’s for them to do. We take a much larger project, much more complex pictures that need to be done cost-effectively and in a much shorter period of time.”

In fact, Vibot’s have painted major skyscrapers across Korea, so when they say much larger projects, they mean it.

“They don’t have the ability to paint on these large walls, so they don’t get the exposure that these muralists might be able to get,” Kim added.

Bottomline

Mural painting robots are on a mission to transform plain, boring, gray city spaces into stunning points of human expression. Above all, they make light work of painting massive murals and that’s something to back up.

Patrick Tresset Portrait - French Robotics Artist

Patrick Tresset, Makes Art with Computer Robot Drawings

Life does not always work out the way we plan just ask Patrick Tresset. You think you want something and when you are immersed in it, you find that your interest lost. In his life, art and science have never been apart.

The French artist started tinkering with computers from a young age. When the time came for college, he decided to focus on business computing. This passion thrived until it he got out of college. Interest lost in the sciences, he went back to the arts.

The painting arts welcomed him with open hands and he revelled in it for a time. After a decade or so of painting, he lost interest in the field. This may have been catalyzed by his mental problems that disabled full functionality in the society. The good news is that he sought help from specialists who helped to get on the right track.

He did get help but he was done using his hands to paint. It was then that in 1999 he came up with the concept of robots that could draw. His first trials did not produce a portrait, it was all doodles. This first research helped him identify that he was unequipped to produce visible art and thus he sought some education.

With a masters from the Goldsmiths College for computing, he was able to have more insight into his idea.  He was able to look into computer vision and perception. His final thesis was on a software that could let computers draw outlines of a person’s face.

For a first step, this was brilliant but it hadn’t reached the level of quality that we wanted. Thus, he moved to the next step in his big plan. A doctoral conquest was next in search of more information to make the project even greater. In 2009, they got a grant 3-year from the Leverhulme Trust.

At first, robotics were not included in the research, but then they realized that it was unavoidable. This is because drawing usually features different gestures to compose a visible portrait. The discovery that they needed robotics made the whole process of software integration easier.

patrick tresset

By the year 2010, Patrick Tresset had a robotic model for display. It worked well, but for a perfectionist, he had to tweak it. By 2011 he had produced the first robotic drawing that met his standard. It was at the right time too since the model got so much international attention that museums wanted to exhibit his installations. Success at last.

Crash by Paul-N

Crash by Paul-N

All his machines have the name, Paul. There are various models that distinction is required. You will find the models with a suffix of a roman number or letters of the alphabet. These models have a camera recording the facial structure of the face in question. These images are processed to command the robotic arm to draw what it sees.

Robby by Paul II

Robby by Paul II

These robotic arms are bolted to different school desks (command centres) to produce different effects. There are plans to develop these robots further to a point where each robot has its own distinct style.

Patrick Tresset art machines

Consider Mr. Patrick a teacher of artistic robots. In his recent work, he has been able to create robotic models that can learn and take instruction. What is interesting is that some of these models portray human traits. Some are slow and some are fast. Some have a hint of shyness thanks to Patrick Tresset’s genius.

In humanizing these robots you are able to marvel at what science and art can produce when intermingled. In the future, there are plans to see how far they can take up this project with the new advancements in technology.

patrick tresset computer art

Astro Boy by Paul-II

In his studio located in London, you will find portraits of many who have come to get their portraits taken by these robots. People are fascinated with the thought of a robot being an artist with an identity. In the future, we predict human-like robots with a sophisticated mindset.

Museums such as the Museum of Israel, Seoul’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, London’s Victoria& Albert Museum, the Prada Foundation, and BOZAR are some of the places that his work has graced.

Already he marvels at his work saying “I am always surprised, I am never sure what they’re going to do,” Every portrait made is different from the other even though it is on the same subject. There is no telling where this project will be in five years. All we understand is that it will be beyond marvellous!

 

 

roboart - wall painting robot

Artbot – the new artist on the block

In Korea, apartment buildings dominate Seoul city and large murals as high as 75m command the walls of the apartments. You’ll be forgiven to think that the best artists from around the world created the murals, yet no human applied paint on a single art.

Introducing Artbot – a robot for painting exterior walls of apartments or large buildings. The robot breaks an image into several small pieces to paint the entire picture. Made and used by Korean company Roboprint, it’s a safer, quicker and more economic form of painting building’s exterior than people can do. Using Artbot is less expensive than the traditional labor painting by up to 80% plus there’s no risk of human accidents working in high places.

Artbot also works on highways and expressways where sound proof walls can be transformed into delightful masterpieces. The apartment repainting sector in Korea is approximately a $350 million industry and with the Artbot’s efficiency, these figures are bound to shoot. Apartment repainting helps to increase the value of a property as well as the visual appeal. Even those dull storage tanks in industrial settings can be transformed into artistic murals and make the surrounding lively.

Technology

The wall painting robot system relies on different technologies to execute various tasks.

The first is Real-Painting Technology. This allows the robot to create a necessary color by spraying 4 color paints (CMYK), one after another through a nozzle situated at the head.

Another one is Image Splitting Technology which is specifically what creates an image. Since the robot works on relatively large wall paintings, it splits an image into many small pieces to paint the whole image. This allows expressing a wide image as one real wall paint. Moreover, selective or partial repainting can be possible regardless of the possibility that painting work is disrupted because of machine faults or external causes.

Perhaps one that saves on a major challenge that artists usually experience is the Irregular Structure Painting Technology. Yes, painting on uneven surfaces is overwhelming but it can’t beat the Artbot. The spout of the robot keeps a setting distance from a surface to be painted at least 20mm while the head takes after an irregular or a curved surface. Along these lines, painting a twisted surface is possible.

The final and one that cut’s significantly on labor costs is the Workability Improvement Technology. This reduces work preparation time by a level checking gadget Print leveling by a lift. The robot painting system is also controlled remotely and wirelessly.

The Artbot has now put Roboprint in a dominant position in the building repainting market. And to meet resident’s expectations of increasing the value of their apartments and promote customer satisfaction, the company shows luxurious designs along with their smart painting robot. Their mission is clear; transform Seoul city into an urban museum.