That is, it's easy to get a computer to duplicate a picture with a plotter. It's a lot harder to get a robot to "see" and produce something that looks like a portrait, because doing so means focusing on certain features (say, the eyes) and giving less weight to lines around the mouth or on the forehead. The robot uses edge-processing software to decide where to put its arm as it manipulates a pencil. A typical portrait takes about 10 minutes –- comparable to a human artist. The 'bot then presents its work.
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Like a lot of artists, this robot has a day job. At the Fraunhofer Institute the robot is used to analyze reflections. A light gets shined on something, and the robot circles the sample in a hemispherical pattern, which enables it to see what it looks like from every angle. It can provide information on how bright the reflectors on a bicycle look from different directions, for example, or whether a certain paint produces a different color from different angles.
This robot was developed by artists in the Robotlab group, at the Center for Art and Media ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Via Science Daily