Industrial Robots Producing Art

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Here is an interesting project that should spark some good discussion. Artaic is a company that is using industrial robots to produce mosaics. They are then selling these mosaics as fine art. As you can see, some of the examples are quite nice looking. However, we have to wonder what the draw is to own one that is made by a robot. Is it really that much different from just printing an image? We really do think it is a cool project and an efficient way of producing these mosaics. We would really love to see one of those super fast delta robots doing the work.

We’re trying to reduce the negativity here at Hackaday. We are passionate geeks and hackers, and as such, we tend to jump straight to the negative points. We hope you guys will follow along with us and try to be constructive in the comments. That being said, the video did seem a bit pretentious, didn’t it?

[via BotJunkie]

26 thoughts on “Industrial Robots Producing Art

  1. The video pretentious? just a smidge ;-)

    Looking positively at this, I see nothing wrong with what they are doing and if anything it seems a good idea (putting aside the price they may charge for such artwork).

    Does it remove of the need for an ‘artistic-eye’ in picking and optimising a picture suitable for a mosaic? No (beyond what was already possible through photo-shop plugins to automate it)

    So why is it better than a human doing the mosaic? Size and speed. If a human was to do a mosaic of 1″ squares on a whole wall it would take a damn-sight longer than simply tasking a robot to do it.

    Probably better to view this sort of thing in the same light as CNC machining vs manual machining: both still require a human to have been creative in the first place, the former simply lets the guy (or gal) put their feet up & not fret the little stuff.

    1. Yeah, I guess it did take a person to lay it all out. In my mind, I envision them feeding an image through a program that basically filters it, then spits it out to the robot. Nothing wrong with it, just not really the most amazingly stunning way of producing art possible.

      from a technical standpoint, I wonder what they are doing to increase the speed of production.

  2. It´s something that would happen inevitably…technology imitating artistic works. It´s really like a printer using different materials.

    I disagree on the efficiency, though. Wouldn´t it be more efficient to stamp the tiles down onto a moving plate prepared with glue? That way the arm wouldn´t need toe realign if it is just filling a matrix of dots. The system demonstrated would be comparable to a printer where a robotic arm sucks up a small amount of color and them moves onto the paper to make single dot…

  3. Where I come from, we call these images low-res. I don’t guess anyone noticed, this guy doesn’t just look like the guy from History Channel’s UFO Hunters, it really is him.

  4. This is a great implementation of technology!

    Who cares if they look pretentious? Maybe the business men running this company are, maybe they are not. It’s not my culture to wear a suit and tie everyday so it’s hard for me to guess if they are smug, and frankly I don’t care.

    What I care about it taking this great idea and improving on it so that I can make my own device.

    It’s a great post because it stimulates thinking about how robotics are used.

    If someone here creates an Arduino-based cheap version of the same device I won’t whine about hearing about that either!

    Seems like there are some manufacturing processes on that machine which could be wildly simplified to bring the device into a cheaper mode.

    How about instead of a pick-and-drop robot hand, using a kicker and a slide chute and gravity? Mount vertically with rails and the speed could be at least 10x faster -? no?

  5. It is a practical means of productions. Seems a stretch to sell it as “Art.” Someone is telling it what to produce so it is really the tool of and artist. The person who chose/designed the images is the designer/artist, and the robotic arm is the paintbrush, if you will.

    But that doesn’t get the kind of attention that screaming headlines of “Robot Makes Art!” does, so what can you do — It’s called “Marketing”.

  6. I think its just as much fine art, as other forms of printed art, or digital art, its the same thing, just a new type of printer. Would be like using a 3d printer to make sculptures, same human artist, different paint brush. Now that would be interesting, a robot that uses a paint brush and paint, even more interesting a robot programmed to find interesting stuff to paint with that brush, making the programmer the artist, with a very complex brush. As far as it being a hack or not, wouldn’t it be a hack, because its using a technology usually purposed for something other than art, to do art? Hacking art tho would be redundant, its all about doing new things in different ways.

  7. So, all the talk about art aside…

    Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to just have it, rather than pick up one piece, drop it, go back, get another piece… instead, pick up several pieces of the same color, fill in all the spaces this color is needed, return, load up another color, repeat…?

    Granted, its not as showy as a robot arm moving between a mosaic form and a big table/conveyor belt continuously feeding tiles in a very complex verging rube goldberg complexity manner, placing tiles one at a time and returning to grab another.

  8. I have a BFA in Fine Arts. Would you say a sculpture that was made using modern day technology such as power tools and things less valuable as a sculpture done with a chisel? How about the chisel vs doing it with just bare hands and other harder rocks? The technology used to make art is not in question so much as the execution of the work itself. If the visual art communicates the idea the artist intended to the viewer successfully we can view it as good art.

  9. @charlie
    “The technology used to make art is not in question so much as the execution of the work itself. If the visual art communicates the idea the artist intended to the viewer successfully we can view it as good art.”

    I’ll call BS on the above statement. How can one discern “the idea the artist intended”? this is a logical slippery slope that leads nowhere. What idea was Michelangelo trying to get across? Duchamp? Picasso? Basquiat? Rubens? Nobody knows any of their exact thoughts/ideas.

    The above logic would suggest that Norman Rockwell was indeed a much better artist say, Rauschenberg (or anyone else, hell he was probably the best of all).

    …and what if the viewer is a moron and is incapable of receiving the artist’s communications? Based on your comment above it would then be “bad” art, since the idea was not communicated.

    The thing with visual art that remains constant across all genres and times is the “scene” is the most important aspect of art. without a scene you are obscure even if you have ‘talent’. (think Vincent van Gogh) Art is merely a product of a “scene” (think Warhol).

    The above attempt is to make a great “scene”, not great art.

    Keep studying.

  10. The scale is astounding for some of those mosaics. I think the scale of the art justifies the use of robots in it’s production.

    There are many forms of art, and producing large scale images utilizing technology seems like an efficient way to do it. I like efficiency, and optimization. I admire Artaic.

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