Computer-aided paint brush

[Nirav] painted this masterpiece by hand… with a little help from a computer. He calls it the semi-automatic paintbrush because you do need to move it over the canvas by hand, but a computer decides when to dispense the ink.

He’s using a piece of hardware we looked at back in September called the InkShield that got a boost from Kickstarter. It’s an Arduino shield that drives an inkjet printer cartridge. The trick is how to know when the cartridge is in position for printing.

The system uses visual processing for that. [Nirav] added an IR led to the cartridge, and uses a camera to extrapolate its position. He actually reused a Python homography module which he had written for use with a projector. That setup was developed as a digital white board, but works just as well for this purpose.

He mentions that results like this won’t be featured in an art museum. But the look is unique, and we’d love to make a set of geeky thank-you notes using the technique.

Comments

  1. Regulus says:

    Now slap it on a makerbot and color your plastic after extruding it!
    It’s something I’ve been working on unsuccessfully since I saw the inkshield become available.

  2. HackJack says:

    It reminds me of the eco coffee printer – http://inhabitat.com/riti-coffee-printer-greener-gadgets/

    You also had to move that back and forth by hand.

  3. Peter says:

    Looks interesting. Would really like to see a video of it in action.

  4. Alex says:

    How accurate is a mouse’s position sensor? They *seem* to work well, but in their intended use, you don’t see errors accrue over time, whereas here you would.

  5. Gerald says:

    Nice. I had a similar idea years ago, envisioning a micro printer that I could use on the road to print received FAXs and such. Also, it would be used to print on objects that won’t pass through a regular printer, like T-shirts. Unfortunately, a Japanese inventor had already patented the idea. As for as I know, he never made use of his patent, which has likely expired by now.

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