Paint The Rainbow With This Skittle-Dropping Pixel Art Robot

We hackers just can’t get enough of sorters for confections like Skittles and M&Ms, the latter clearly being the superior candy in terms of both sorting and snackability. Sorting isn’t just about taking a hopper of every color and making neat monochromatic piles, though. [JohnO3] noticed that all those colorful candies would make dandy pixel art, so he built a bot to build up images a Skittle at a time.

Dubbed the “Pixel8R” after the eight colors in a regulation bag of Skittles, the machine is a largish affair with hoppers for each color up top and a “canvas” below with Skittle-sized channels and a clear acrylic cover. The hoppers each have a rotating disc with a hole to meter a single Skittle at a time into a funnel which is connected to a tube that moves along the top of the canvas one column at a time. [JohnO3] has developed a software toolchain to go from image files to Skittles using GIMP and a Python script, and the image builds up a row at a time until 2,760 Skittle-pixels have been placed.

The downside: sorting the Skittles into the hoppers. [JohnO3] does this manually now, but we’d love to see a sorter like this one sitting up above the hoppers. Or, he could switch to M&Ms and order single color bags. But where’s the fun in that?

[via r/arduino]

7 thoughts on “Paint The Rainbow With This Skittle-Dropping Pixel Art Robot

  1. Hmm, this could be connected with sorter, like:
    1. Get one random skittle
    2. Find which column should that skittle go
    3. If no column, return to top of hopper
    4. Continue 1 until image finished

    Alos looks like skittles are not uniform enough to build nice displays, probably needs more AI or OpenCV (already has arduino).

    1. Also, best quote from article:

      > Skittles are surprising challenging to work with: they can roll on all sides but are not spheres, when dropped they naturally settle with the larger diameter in the horizontal plane, and the raspberry ones are irresistibly tasty.

  2. I feel like with a sorter you have an amazing instagram frame. Post random images from some hashtag all day long and recycle the skittles automatically when you start a new one. I feel like the skittles office should commission one that watches #TasteTheRainbow

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