Space & Innovation

A.I. Artists Paint with Brush and Canvas

The 2016 RobotArt competition to showcase new wave of robot artists that collaborate with humans and create on their own.

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Painting robots have been around

since the 1970s

, but the technology has improved and expanded radically in recent years. The upcoming 2016 RobotArt Contest is the first of five planned robot painting competitions that will offer more than half a million dollars is prize money to competing robotic teams. Registration is still open -- you can check out the rules and regulations at the

RobotArt website

. Here we take a look at some early entrants, including the

eDavid

system from the University of Konstanz in Germany, pictured above.

The University of Konstanz team recently unveiled a

portable version

of the eDavid system, which was initially built from an old welding robot.

A recent eDavid composition. Robots in the 2016 competition must create images with robotic arms and actual brushes and paints -- no digital printing.

A still image from a time-lapse video of artist Pindar Van Arman's

BitPaintr

system, which creates made-to-order portraits from submitted photographs.

Van Arman has built more than a dozen iterations of his

A.I. painting system

: "My art is the form, function, and design of these machines and the algorithms that run them."

The

InstaPainter

robot project is the latest initiative from the much larger Instapainting.com operation, which employs (human) artists to create photorealistic oil paintings.

Designed by students at the

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

, the RHIT Robot Artist recently won first prize at a robotics industry trade show competition.

Students at Carnegie Mellon University are working with the miniaturized

Geomagic Touch

robot to study the collaborative process between robots and humans.

The CMU team is experimenting with haptic feedback systems in which robots learns from humans -- and vice versa.

Researchers at the

Imperial College of London

have developed a hands-free collaborative painting robot that tracks eye movement to control the system's robotic arm.