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Paint-by-robot

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  August 15, 2013 08:18 AM

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When you watch an artist paint, individual brush strokes can seem random. It's often not until close to the very end that the image the painter is after becomes clear. This is doubly true when you watch e-David, the robot painter, at work. David, which stands for "Drawing Apparatus for Vivid Image Display," was created by a team of engineers at the University of Konstanz in Germany. He's a former welding robot who has been retrofitted to reproduce, brush stroke by brush stroke, existing works of art. The robotic arm has access to five different brushes and 25 colors of paint, and after each dab of paint, it takes a photograph of what it has painted so far- computer software analyzes the photograph and tells David where to place the next brush stroke. The strangeness of the process is especially evident when David signs his name at the end. As you can see in this video below, he begins by making the dot over the "i" and then writes the rest of his name backwards- hardly how you or I would do it, and a clear reminder that- once someone else has given you the idea- there's more than one way to make the Mona Lisa.

David 1.jpeg

David 2.jpeg

David 3.jpeg

Via Phys.org.

Images courtesy of Oliver Deussen at the University of Konstanz.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

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Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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