A robot that paints like humans has been developed by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology.

The robot, dubbed GTGraffiti, is a system that relies on motion capture technology to record human painting motions and then programs those gestures and motions into a cable-driven robot that is capable of spray painting graffiti artwork.

To develop GTGraffiti, the research team first employed motion capture technology to record two human artists painting the alphabet in a bubble letter graffiti style. While the human artists painted, the motions of the artists' hands across the canvas and the movements of the spray paint can were recorded.

Source: Georgia Institute of TechnologySource: Georgia Institute of Technology

That data was then processed to analyze each motion for speed, acceleration and size — all of which influenced the design of the cable-driven robot. Running on a system of cables, motors and pulleys, the robot is currently mounted on a 9 ft by 10 ft tall steel frame.

Finally, the team converted the artist's composition into electrical signals, which, together forms a library of digital characters that are capable of being programmed in any size, perspective and combination to create words for GTGraffiti to paint.

Further, the team employs mathematical equations to produce trajectories for GTGraffiti to follow as soon as a sequence and position of characters is selected by researchers. Such pathways ensure that GTGraffiti paints using the appropriate speed, location, orientation and perspective.

“The arts, especially painting or dancing, exemplify some of the most complex and nuanced motions humans can make,” the researchers said. “So if we want to create robots that can do the highly technical things that humans do, then creating robots that can dance or paint are great goals to shoot for. These are the types of skills that demonstrate the extraordinary capabilities of robots and can also be applied to a variety of other applications.”

The article, GTGraffiti: Spray painting graffiti art from human painting motions with a cable driven parallel robot, appears in the 2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

To see GTGraffiti in action, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com