At many tourist sites, people can get their portraits sketched by an artist for a few bucks. Now that artist could be a robot.
At the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany, the Fraunhofer stand will have a robot that sketches portraits. Certainly computers can draw, as the plotter has been around for nearly thirty years now. What makes this one different is teaching the robot to ignore all the small details.
That is, it's easy to get a computer to duplicate a picture with a plotter. It's a lot harder to get a robot to "see" and produce something that looks like a portrait, because doing so means focusing on certain features (say, the eyes) and giving less weight to lines around the mouth or on the forehead. The robot uses edge-processing software to decide where to put its arm as it manipulates a pencil. A typical portrait takes about 10 minutes –- comparable to a human artist. The 'bot then presents its work.
Like a lot of artists, this robot has a day job. At the Fraunhofer Institute the robot is used to analyze reflections. A light gets shined on something, and the robot circles the sample in a hemispherical pattern, which enables it to see what it looks like from every angle. It can provide information on how bright the reflectors on a bicycle look from different directions, for example, or whether a certain paint produces a different color from different angles.
This robot was developed by artists in the Robotlab group, at the Center for Art and Media ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Via Science Daily