Is There A Robot That Can Draw?

Although robotics is advancing by leaps and bounds, creativity is something that is not expected from robots. 

We expect robots to perform mundane and repetitive tasks, but these machines are never expected to learn new skills on their own, compose music, or draw. 

Well, it is time to recheck your expectations because modern robots can perform all sorts of tasks from cooking to composing music and drawing doodles. 

Over the years, many scientists and engineers have collaborated to design robots that can draw, and a handful of robots capable of doodling and making designs have been introduced over the past decade. 

The technology is still developing but these robots holding a pen and drawing what they are told is one of the most interesting things to see. 

While some robots are designed to draw lines and scribble based on the sounds they are hearing others are programmed to mimic whatever humans draw. 

To help you learn more about robots that can draw, this article enlists the technology that is used to design these robots, their level of creativity as well as the names of the drawing robots that have emerged over the years.

There are robots that can draw. They can be creative and usually come up with one-of-a-kind and unique designs. These drawing robots are designed using robot machine parts and powerful software. 

What Are Robots That Can Draw?

Drawing robots are more than copy machines. 

While they can mimic what humans are drawing, they have been designed to be artistic, expressive, and obsessive. 

As a result, they are capable of creating designs and objects that are considered artwork. 

Over the years, several drawing robots have emerged and some of them have really caught our attention. 

One of them is Paul, a robot designed by Patrick Tresset who is an artist and a roboticist. 

Paul creates beautiful artwork that has been exhibited and acquired by major art galleries around the world. 

Then there is Ai-Da, a humanoid robot, who makes creative portraits of people sitting in front of her. 

In addition to these, there are some drawing robots that are commercially available as well. 

This includes Line-us: The little robot drawing arm. This tiny robot connects to your phone via an app and draws whatever image you feed it. 

Can Robots Be Creative?

Roboticists who have developed drawing robots have worked on providing them with a sense of creativity using the process of evolution. 

While some robots use specific algorithms, most don’t. Many drawing robots have been trained using artificial creative practice. 

Of course, these robots have not reached the human level of creativity, but they are capable of making autonomous decisions and exhibiting creativity. 

One of these abilities is to decide whether they should draw or not. 

In addition to this, the drawing robots also evaluation of the subject based on the color and density of lines. 

They produce unique drawings while maintaining their stylistic consistency which shows creativity. 

Does Art Made by Robots Sell?

Yes, robot art sells and is acquired by noted galleries around the world. 

As mentioned, Paul, a creation of Patrick Tresset, makes unique artwork that many gallerists acquire for their galleries. 

Its artwork has also been displayed in art fairs and museums. 

In addition to this, several artworks created by Ai-Da were sold for $1 million in total. Note that these numbers only account for the art sold in 2019. 

Robot artwork is increasingly being brought by art enthusiasts around the world. A Single piece can go for as much as $430,000.

The Tech That Goes Behind Robots That Can Draw

Like other robots, drawing robots are also a combination of powerful hardware and powerful software. 

Drawing robots are equipped with GPS, video cameras, imaging sensors, pressure sensors motors, and more. 

The type of hardware used totally depends on the type of applications the roboticist is hoping for. 

However, what differs drawing robots from other robots is they undergo artificial creative practice. 

They are equipped with AI and deep learning that is trained over a course of time to develop creativity. 

Ai-Da

Ai-Da, named after Ada Lovelace (the first female computer programmer in the world) is one of the most famous drawing robots in the world. 

She is a humanoid who is capable of making eye contact with the subject. She makes realistic portraits by using depth sensors and artificial intelligence. 

Many of her drawings have gone on sale for thousands of dollars and are being displayed in many renowned galleries around the world.

Paul

Paul is a creation of an artist and a roboticist which is why he has created some of the most creative robot artwork. 

His creator, Patrick Tresset, took 10 years to train him. 

Paul is designed to visualize the subject and use its robotic arm to do the drawing. 

He also has a brother e-David, who uses more advanced technology and has been equipped with modern machine learning algorithms. 

Scribit

Scribit is a simpler form of the robots mentioned above. 

It used erasable markers to draw whatever the user asks for. Scribit is capable of drawing huge drawings depending on the demand. 

You can use it to draw wall art or create huge banners. All you have to do is feed it the design using an app on your phone. 

The best part is, it is commercially available. 

Line-us

Line-us is a tiny USB-powered robot arm. It connects to your phone using an app and draws the images you want. 

It can copy anything in real-time or take inspiration from images on the internet. 

Moreover, you can also provide your friends and family with access to line-us. 

Wherever they are in the world, they can send drawings to line-us.

Drawbot

Drawbot is a project undertaken by artists, philosophers, and scientists from the University of Sussex. 

The robot is capable of running several operating systems, comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a pen held at the center, and two wheels on the side for movement. 

For now, the robot can only draw line doodles. However, it is currently undergoing training. 

So, it is expected that after a few more years, a successor of the drawbot will be able to draw images similar to Paul and Ai-Da.

Robots That Can Draw vs Human Artists

As of now, robots cannot compete with human artists. 

Art includes a wide array of techniques and mediums of drawing. That cannot be replicated by robots. 

In addition to this, robots are still learning to be creative, which is why they cannot match the level of creativity human artists possess. 

Drawing robots either work with pencils, pens, or markers. They are not yet capable of painting like human artists. 

However, looking at the speed at which the technology is developing, it is safe to say that we can expect these robots to reach the human level of creativity soon. 

Robots That Can Draw in Pop Culture

As far as robotics is concerned, pop culture has had a huge impact on how we perceive them. 

Hundreds of robot movies have been designed over the years. 

We have seen movies like ex-Machina and terminator which show the epitome of robot evolution. 

Many movies show the level of creativity that robots can achieve. There haven’t exactly been movies revolving around drawing robots, but we bet one will come out sooner than later. 

Conclusion

Drawing robots is still an evolving field and there are many aspects that have not been developed yet. 

These robots are being designed to exhibit common aspects of collective behavior and emergent intelligence.

Scientists and engineers have succeeded in achieving that but the algorithms are still being improved. 

These robots still cannot function properly without human input. 

Robots that can draw are being developed since the 1980s. One of the first such machines was the harmonograph. 

It is a mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to create geometric images. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is art made by robots art?

Yes, any artwork that employs some form of robotics is robot art.

How does a drawing robot work?

This depends on the battery and other specifications of the robot.

Can a robot be an artist?

Yes, a robot can be an artist. The algorithms help them be creative and design unique art.