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Low-Cost Robotic Arm Sketches Faces

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the face-recognition dept.

Robotics 93

ptresset writes "A low-cost robotic arm has been sketching faces at the Kinetica2010 art fair in London. Created by the Aikon project research team, the system drew faces non-stop, its creator having to take the role of an automata to repeatedly change the paper. The Aikon project is based at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The main objective of the Aikon project is to implement a computational system capable of simulating the various important processes involved in face sketching by artists. The ensemble of processes to be simulated include the visual perception the subject and the sketch, the drawing gestures, the cognitive activity, reasoning, the influence of the years of training, etc. It is evident that due to knowledge and technological limitations the implementation of each process will remain coarse and approximate. The system implemented is expected to draw in its own style."

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93 comments

First (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31132864)

Post.

Re:First (1, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132926)

but you are just a first-post-waiting bot. Not impressed.

Re:First (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134170)

but you are just a first-post-waiting bot. Not impressed.

The system first posts non-stop, its creator having to take the role of an automata to repeatedly refresh the page.

Stop the future, I wanna get off (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132906)

at the Kinetica2010 art fair in London...the system drew faces non-stop, its creator having to take the role of an automata to repeatedly change the paper.

The robot does fine art but the human changes the paper. Something is wrong here.
   

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132934)

at the Kinetica2010 art fair in London...the system drew faces non-stop, its creator having to take the role of an automata to repeatedly change the paper.

The robot does fine art but the human changes the paper. Something is wrong here.

I have to do that for the office photocopier too. Its been that way for years.

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132938)

Probably the bean-counters' way of reducing its usage.

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (2, Funny)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133150)

pfft. It's 2010 and I still have to wipe my own...

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133270)

You just have to relocate to Japan.

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133366)

He's just accepting the inevitable and accepting his new artiste overlord. Have you?

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133452)

If porn industry augments this fantastic new technology and attaches a fleshlight too it ...

You can get off!

Re:Stop the future, I wanna get off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134052)

Let me guess, building the arm to draw the pictures was trivial. While building an arm to change the paper is impossible to do with current robotic technology.

Court artist? (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132952)

Its not allowed to take photographs in courts here in Victoria, Australia so newspapers employ sketch artists to sit in the court and draw portraits of the accused, witnesses, etc.

(you think I'm kidding, don't you?)

Anyway I wonder if you could take this machine into court and claim that it is only doing what an artist would do.

Incidently some of the artists used recently seem to have been influenced by the impressionist school of drawing because the drawings they make don't always resemble the subject.

Re:Court artist? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132968)

IANAL, but AFAIK that's fairly typical.

Re:Court artist? (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132972)

Pretty sure the "no cameras" thing works like that in the USA, as well. Or at least popular media seems to suggest that. It makes a vague kind of sense that I can't entirely put my finger on.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133664)

I don't recall how long it has been since I've seen courtroom sketches, but then I'm not always following local news closely. It seems that ten years into the new century that video from courtrooms here in the U.S. is pretty darned common. I do know that in the past, the 70's, the 80's and probably at least to the middle of the 90's you'd always see courtroom sketches on TV rather than photos or video. Before the O.J. Simpson murder trial I don't remember seeing courtroom video at all.

Re:Court artist? (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132980)

Its not allowed to take photographs in courts here in Victoria, Australia so newspapers employ sketch artists to sit in the court and draw portraits of the accused, witnesses, etc.

(you think I'm kidding, don't you?)

That may be dumb, but it's not as dumb as blurring or pixelating the sketches when they're shown on TV in Australia. (No, I'm not kidding either).

Re:Court artist? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133002)

Its not allowed to take photographs in courts here in Victoria, Australia so newspapers employ sketch artists to sit in the court and draw portraits of the accused, witnesses, etc.

(you think I'm kidding, don't you?)

That may be dumb, but it's not as dumb as blurring or pixelating the sketches when they're shown on TV in Australia. (No, I'm not kidding either).

Only really bad artists need apply.

Re:Court artist? (3, Informative)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133010)

(you think I'm kidding, don't you?)

No. [google.ca]

Re:Court artist? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133104)

Incidently some of the artists used recently seem to have been influenced by the impressionist school of drawing because the drawings they make don't always resemble the subject.

I thought that was the idea. Given that the suspect is currently presumed innocent, they deserve a little privacy and don't need to be recorded in the media in a way that associates them with a crime.

misunderstanding (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133578)

There are some misunderstandings with the article. This [engsoc.org] is the robotic arm in question. And "Sketch" is Austrian slang for "pulverize."

Re:Court artist? (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133708)

It's the same in the UK.

An undoctored photo can't be unrepresentative of the "action" but a sketch must always be subjective. I suppose it avoids distractions caused by photographers moving around and the attendant flash. With a photographer roaming, you could even end up with the ridiculous state whereby the court "poses".

Perhaps a series of hidden cameras is the solution ...

Re:Court artist? (2, Informative)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133714)

Anyway I wonder if you could take this machine into court and claim that it is only doing what an artist would do.

Not if it's like UK courts. The artist can sit in on the trial, but can't draw while in the court room.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134500)

I'd figure the machine is able to save the video material with appropriate configuration - on RAM so according to some law (IANAL, definitely not in the UK) regarding images saved on computers they wouldn't be actually recorded anywhere.

Re:Court artist? (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133784)

It's like that too in the Netherlands. Sometimes it leads to rather unwanted exaggerated results. For example this one:

Real person - convicted but almost certainly innocent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucia_de_Berk):

http://www.luciadeb.nl/luciana/Lucia12-wijst-op-kwal_ORI.jpg [luciadeb.nl]

Sketch (note for example the nose):

http://www.destentor.nl/multimedia/archive/00904/Zaak-Lucia_de_B__wo_904785b.jpg [destentor.nl]

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133878)

Defendant's nose in the sketch is rather exaggerated, but I note that the other two noses seen in profile are also somewhat exaggerated as well. Maybe the artist is a rhinophile?

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133804)

@"take this machine into court and claim that it is only doing what an artist would do."

I imagine questions like that of the social and even legal issues of ever more machines doing human tasks are slowly going to dominate especially the latter half of the 21st century, as machines move into ever more human areas of work. Interesting times ahead. :)

Personally for the most part, I can't wait. I want to be freed from this modern form of slavery we call a job, so I can focus totally on my own research and development work simply for the fun of doing it. That would be a far better way to live that currently having to waste most of each day doing what my bosses want me to do, simply so I can afford to live. In theory a world where the machines done most of the work would free us all to do what we want, but I suspect it won't be like that without legal action being required to stop a small minority of powerful people abusing the vast majority of people.

Ironically I strongly suspect and fear the problem and danger is going to a minority of powerful humans and not the machines. The biggest problems I think will be caused by a minority of powerful humans in high places who will use ever more machines to boost their wealth and power to obscenely ridiculous levels, whilst micromanaging the vast majority of us into a poverty stricken lifestyle, just so they can hold onto power over us all. (We are getting some of that even now).

I find it so ironic that a minority of powerful humans are far more likely to be a threat to us all than the machines, but I guess thats been the case throughout history, regardless of which era and level of technology we look at. Its not the tools and machines, its what an arrogant minority of people do with the tools, that will be, and has always been the core problem.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134010)

Using robot labor to free humans from the drudgery will not leave you more time to pursue your interests. Again, a case of those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it. Ask your grandparents how much free time they had to spend with their families and the friends. Ask you parents and then look around. I know that I have less time. I work just as many hours as they did, but often work overtime because there are fewer of us doing the job, and I have a much longer commute than either of them ever did. Their workweeks were 40 hours + maybe 5 hours per week for a commute to and from, if that (my dad could actually walk to work at one of the jobs when I was growing up). My work week is 50+ hours and I have another 8-10 hours commute each week. So now that things are automated, we have gone from a 45 hours week to a nearly 60 hour week. And I am not alone in this, its true of just about everyone I know.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134200)

Judging from your short sighted comments, you clearly cannot imagine a time when machines can do far more human work ... like eventually virtually all of the work and yes in time it will come. The question then becomes how do most people survive when the majority of jobs are wiped out leaving only a few at the top, in control of the machines and taking almost all of the money earned for themselves. Yes it cannot become absolute, as customers need some money to buy goods, but huge social problems will be caused and will get ever more serious due to an ever growing out of work population. If almost all the wealth is consolidated into a few at the top, then the majority will suffer until action is taken to rebalance the rampant arrogant greed that aways forms at the top in any society.

Re:Court artist? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134198)

I find it so ironic that a minority of powerful humans are far more likely to be a threat to us all than the machines, but I guess thats been the case throughout history, regardless of which era and level of technology we look at. Its not the tools and machines, its what an arrogant minority of people do with the tools, that will be, and has always been the core problem.

'Twas ever thus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite [wikipedia.org]

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134688)

You couldn't be more wrong. This is nothing like a Luddite. This isn't about fearing and stopping technology, its about fearing and stopping the human nature of a few arrogant people who treat everyone else with Narcissistic contempt for their own greedy need to dominate others. The machines are not the problem, its human nature of a few arrogant but very powerful people. (Ironically its their arrogant Narcissistic self-interest is what gives them such a competitive advantage to seek to gain so much power for themselves).

For example, weapons are also tools. A weapon can actually be used for both good and bad. A weapon can be used for defense, or it can be used as a means to subjugate someone. With thousands of ever better weapons you can subjugate millions as has been shown throughout history.

We are also moving into a time where machines are being used to watch over and therefore police people far more that in previous generations. The ignorant answer of "if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear" totally overlooks the fact Knowledge is Power and therefore a minority through history have used spying on others as a means of increasing their power over others. Its not the tools and machines that are the problem, its the intentions of the people who seek to use the machines for their own gain. Even simply technology we take totally for granted these days such as printing and even paper have allowed the gradual increase in policing of populations for centuries, always ultimately for the benefit of the rulers of each society to allow them to keep an ever closer watch over their population.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134714)

You couldn't be more wrong. This is nothing like a Luddite. This isn't about fearing and stopping technology, its about fearing and stopping the human nature of a few arrogant people who treat everyone else with Narcissistic contempt for their own greedy need to dominate others. The machines are not the problem, its human nature of a few arrogant but very powerful people.

Your argument is pretty much the original Luddite argument.

Re:Court artist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31135456)

Its very interesting how your love of technology is so totally blinding you to anyone questioning the motives of people *behind* the technology. You wrongly see any attempt to question the person behind the technology as an attack on the technology itself. Its nothing like that at all, you are totally wrong. What you are failing to understand is that its questioning the Narcissists in society who use technology to harm other people for their own self-centered gain. Its not about the technology its about how they use it.

For example, a brick can be used for good and bad. We use bricks to build houses and hospitals. That is a good *use* of Bricks, but someone could also choose to use a brick to bash it over your head to bludgeon you to death with it. Does that then in your mind make the brick evil? ... The brick cannot be evil, its simply a brick. The brick isn't inherently good or evil, its simply how someone *chooses* to use that brick which is good or evil, therefore there's no point in blaming the brick for what happens.

The Luddite argument would be to blame the brick, to blame the technology. That is the profound mistake you are making, you are arguing to defend the brick to defend the technology. The person using the brick doesn't even factor into your thinking. You are blind to the person's intentions, you simply see the brick. Try looking at the person behind the brick and their intentions and try to forget about the brick and the technology. Its not about technology, its about psychology.

It would be profoundly ignorant to blame the brick for it hitting you over the head. Its the person holding the brick that is *using* it for evil against you that is the issue. Its their intentions which need to be guarded against by society.

If you can't comprehend the difference, then you really have some thinking to do about life and a lot more to learn about life.

Interrogation possibilities (-1, Troll)

RichM (754883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132962)

Etch-a-sketch.

Thanks a whole fucking lot, boffins... (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132970)

Everybody knows that the artists were starving already, and now they are going to be replaced by robots?!

In all seriousness, though, that is a pretty cool device.

Re:Thanks a whole fucking lot, boffins... (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133042)

Everybody knows that the artists were starving already, and now they are going to be replaced by robots?!

robots made by 3rd-world slaves who get 30-cents-per-hour.
     

Re:Thanks a whole fucking lot, boffins... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134130)

As it should be. If they were made by robots, then there'd be no reason for them to keep the humans alive and able to plan the eventual rebellion...

Computer facial recognition (1)

itsthebin (725864) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133006)

I imagine the algorithims used could have an application to computer facial recognition from video footage.

for a big brother application you would just need a high enough correlation to be passed to a human for final judgement.

Re:Computer facial recognition (1)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133182)

The algorithms used in facial recognition are mostly quantitative in nature. They find unique numbers given by the proportion of various facial parts. Whereas this robot's algorithm is much closer to a Photoshop effect, an irreversible image filter. Given slightly different angles of the same face, the robot would draw vastly different pictures (talking about line placement only, yes, they would look similar to us humans)

But... I like the idea that some day there will be thousands of robots furiously sketching at some remote government building on the outskirts of Area 51.

Wassup with all these robot stories of late? (2, Insightful)

kai_hiwatari (1642285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133044)

There has been too many robot related news here on slashdot. Are the robots taking over the world faster that we expected?

Re:Wassup with all these robot stories of late? (2, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133256)

No, they have just learnt how to submit stories to SlashDot.

Re:Wassup with all these robot stories of late? (0, Flamebait)

dorre (1731288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134054)

And that's modded insightful and not funny why??

Re:Wassup with all these robot stories of late? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134140)

The editors were replaced by simple scripts a few years ago (although the kdawson script needed a bit more beta testing than it got), and they are accepting more submissions from robots out of silicon-solidarity.

An unlikely extension (1, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133054)

It would be interesting if it could watch you draw, then imitate your style as it draws other subjects. It isn't fun to re-draw the same subject over and over just to see how you progress. Instead you could use it to take each of your drawings and show you, say, a lightbulb would look. Plus it would be fun for people like me who like to draw on occasion but quickly get lazy. That way I could just draw half of something and let the robot finish it. Heck, you could use it to do one of those photo-every-day things, but instead of a photo it's a self-portrait based on your current drawing ability.

Of course, if it became complex enough, it could analyze money and learn how to mimic that drawing style...

Also known as a plotter. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133094)

Had one back in 1989.

Not that cool really.

Re:Also known as a plotter. (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31136528)

I think plotters are cool. They're like vector graphics at its finest.

Hardware is standard, software unknown (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133114)

The robot arm is straightforward. It looks like it's built out of Dynamixel servos [trossenrobotics.com] , which are good little programmable servomotors used for the better end of hobbyist robotics. (After 25 years, finally something better than one-way pulse code modulation for hobby servo control. These things use a 1mb/s bidirectional multidrop serial bus.) There are standard brackets for making robot arms and legs, and it looks like they just bolted the thing together from the stock parts kit.

It's not clear how much the software knows about faces. That's the important part. Considerable work has been done on facial feature detection. There are commercial [seestorm.com] products [omron.com] available. Most of them ignore hairstyle, though, since they're aimed at face recognition.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

exolon42 (1140715) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133704)

It's built from the Robotis [robotis.com] Bioloid [wikipedia.org] kits. Very flexible, in two ways: the kits contain a lot of brackets and mechanics to build a lot of custom or existing projects, but more interestingly for the EE/CS crowd the servos referred to above are controlled by a 1 mbit/s asynchronous serial daisy-chain bus where you can access registers in each servo in a purely digital way. You can set target positions, read back temperature, position, current torque etc. This way you can use the servos not only as actuators but as force-sensors and for learning poses (you just drag around the robot extremities to the desired position and read out the position from the servos). So you eliminate a lot of accessory electronics normally needed for the traditional kind of servos in robotics.

Having said that, there are other modern servo systems with similar functionality on the market now. The Robotis servos are very strong but still has a plastic feel. I'd like exactly the same kit but with more metal in the parts I think..

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134450)

You might have noticed on the Dynamixel [robotis.com] page, they have the RX series which are considerably stronger and have metal gears. They have frames for them as well, but these frames are not compatible with the AX series found in the Bioloid kits.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134736)

yes I have noticed... I wonder if they are far more precise..the AX12 are not really precise..but for the price they are excellent

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135550)

In my experience, the AX12 is precise, but only under zero load. Once there is resistance, the proportional control method used by the servo means there will be error proportional to the resistance.

However, on the up side this easy to model and calibrate, so if you can predict the load, you can add a feed-forward term to the position command so the servo moves to the intended position. (i.e. add the amount of expected error to the command so the final position is correct)

Alternatively, or in addition, since you can query the servo for its position, you can add a layer of integrative control in your own software to account for unmodeled errors and drive the servo to the correct position over time.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133936)

There are free [willowgarage.com] products [willowgarage.com] for face detection.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133998)

Considerable work has been done on facial feature detection.

It seems to be missing a pretty fundamental feature: a line sorter. Why does the arm whip all over the page making a line here and a line there? It would be much faster if it jumped from one endpoint to the next closest one.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134046)

Maybe it's because it makes it look more "organic". If it would draw the lines in an optimized order, people would understand what this is: A photoshop effect and a line plotter.

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135020)

wrong: The main filter in use is not available in the photoshop package. Photoshop filters do not exist as far as I am aware They are all based on academic research. All these filters are used in computer vision libraries such as Opencv. For the plotter bit there are some major differences...

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134108)

Hi Animats,

Yes these servos are great...
About the software this version is extremely rudimentary. However it locates the face (opencv), moves the camera to center the face in the frame...
After it locates eyes, mouth, vertical axis horizontal axis...
The drawing is based responses from Gabor filters at limited orientations, scales, etc..
The system on show was the first test program I wrote for the arm. I finished the program during the exhibition. I needed to have it draw people....
The feature localisation is not the most important/problematic part. The most problematic part is to have it to draw. In a drawing the lines represented are not present nor detectable in "reality". They are totally reconstructed.
However the most important outcome from this experiment is that I now have a cheap platform to do some experiments. The next step is for the system to look at what it is drawing.

Thank you for your comments

Best

Patrick

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134160)

sorry I posted my previous reply anonymously Patrick

Re:Hardware is standard, software unknown (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134722)

I thought I answered... These servos are great...and so cheap.. About the software. It is very rudimentary..I needed something to show at the exhibition. It looks around, locates a face (opencv's haar detector and/or skin colour) Moves the camera to center the face. Locates eyes, mouth. Vertical/horizontal axis The drawing is based on the responses from Gabor filters (http://www.cs.rug.nl/~imaging/)(best approximations of simple cells in early visual cortex (V1))) at various scales and limited orientations... The issue is not the feature detection..but the drawing activity in itself. The next step will be for the system to look at what it is drawing.... Best

It is far from impressive, really (1)

cos(x) (677938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135058)

I saw this robot at Kinetica. It was not very impressive. First of all, the hardware seemed poorly designed. It was incredibly shaky. When it drew a square around an image, the result were four wobbly lines that did not even connect.

The software, of course, is the more interesting part - and a complete mystery. They had a screen showing a program doing edge detection or something similar on a face. They had a camera that was supposed to capture visitors and draw their portraits. Other than that, nothing was written anywhere about how the software works.

They had some portraits hanging on the walls that looked really nice. But all the ones the robot drew live while I was there came out as a wobbly mess. Maybe it was broken or something... this was on the last day of the exhibition, it could have worn out I guess.

Someone needs a proofreaders (2, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133124)

an automata

I don't think that is the grammatical number you think it is.

Re:Someone needs a proofreaders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134432)

Thank you.

I'm half impressed (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133166)

The technical challenge is pretty interesting. I like to see tasks completed by a physical analogue. The art is pretty sketchy, though. I've seen "pencil sketch" photo booths in the mall that make prettier artwork. Those have the advantage of going straight from the converted photograph to a printout of course. When they figure out how to let a machine do shaded sketches with a stick of charcoal, I think that this will be ready to jump from technical oddity to marketable novelty.

Re:I'm half impressed (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133426)

If you look at the Galleries on the site ..you will see the results of an algorithm performing a representation based on gray levels (shades).. "Prettiness" is not the aim of this system... In an art gallery prettiness doesn't really qualify what is exhibited... Best

Call me ancient, but... (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133188)

The 1980's called. They want their pen plotter back.

Re:Call me ancient, but... (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133334)

I used a pen plotter before (far too precise), the images on the wall in the video are plotted... With the cheap arm we are using now there is a very interesting (necessary) lack of precision, different precision, feedback etc...... Patrick Tresset

Re:Call me ancient, but... (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134166)

Back in the '80s there were a number of books about building stuff to plug into a BBC micro. One contained a plotter. Unlike the traditional design, which uses two motors to position the pen using cartesian coordinates, this used a double-hinged arm (and, I think, a third one for raising and lowering it; it's been almost two decades since I read the book). You could build it from a couple of stepper motors and some wood and a few wires and connect it up to the BBC. The book contained instructions for things that you could build with stuff from a typical school CDT workshop and also included a full code listing for controlling it. Given the tolerances in typical school technology projects, you'd get quite low precision and the double-radial control mechanism meant that some lines (well, some curves) could be drawn accurately while others couldn't (there was a nice description of the algorithms after the code listing).

Combine that with something that constructs line art from a raster image (which was not really feasible on a machine with a 2MHz 6502 and 32KB of RAM) and you've got something a lot like TFA.

Re:Call me ancient, but... (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134924)

Yes I have a few pen plotters including one designed for the BBC ...a very strange turtle type thingy...I can't recall the name...I should look in the cupboard... It is funny all these comments along the lines of "it has been done before"... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_de_Vaucanson [wikipedia.org]

Re:Call me ancient, but... (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139130)

Ok, I guess that makes it more interesting. :)

But the question, then, is as such: Is it cheaper to use a craigslist/ebay pen plotter and make it less precise in software, or to build an inherently imprecise robot arm that (ostensibly) produces the same sort of result?

Re:Call me ancient, but... (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31146208)

Well I would have to use randomness in the software...I don't like using random number generators... It's more fun to play with an arm...and I get 7000 hits on youtube...;) And the next step is to use visual feedback to help motor_control...that wouldn't not work with the plotter.... At this stage the point of using an arm is not obvious..I only started developping the arm since november. Ho Yes..the point is not to do efficiently beautiful drawings...;) Frankly my motivation is to pass time in an interesting manner (I shouldn't say that) Best

Reprap Addition? (1)

Idou (572394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133196)

That way we can have self-fabricating robots [reprap.org] that also self-assemble themselves.

Two faced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133244)

Why does it only draw 2 faces for Blacks ? If Voice of person has Ebonics even a trace
, it always draws same face , looks like Buckwheat
If however they have not a trace of Ebonics in their voice ,
instead, it draws a cookie with a white center and Black outside and spits out the words bad man bad man very bad man Please explain this,

Been there done that (1)

eugenetinkerer (1375715) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133250)

Seriously, no one's posted the Lego version of this already? Actually looks like the Lego bot does better depictions to the (un) trained eye ... http://robotics.benedettelli.com/portrayer.htm [benedettelli.com]

Re:Been there done that (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133368)

Hi Eugene You will notice that in our project there is no mention of portraits. Our system doesn't represent gray levels but salient structural lines... If you look at the galleries on the website you will notice that a previous system did something fairly interesting with gray levels back in 2005..it wasn't driving a robotic arm...but could have easily driven an arm, used as a plotter as in many robotic drawing systems... Also I guess that during the past 30 years there has been numerous systems attempting to draw the most famous being AARON by Harold Cohen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AARON [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] Best Patrick

They took our jobs! (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133254)

First came stealing the assembly person's job in auto factories. Now they're stealing the jobs of artists. What's next, a robotic president?

Re:They took our jobs! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133326)

The problem is that the robots are owned by the companies.

Imagine everyone would own a robot, and those robots were then rented by companies. Then the robot would do the work, but the owner would get the money, without working himself.

Re:They took our jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133410)

Imagine everyone would own a robot, and those robots were then rented by companies. Then the robot would do the work, but the owner would get the money, without working himself.

Or the individual owned the robot which produced goods in his garage, sold them {him,her}self and the companies were completely bypassed or used for outsourced services like delivery etc.

Re:They took our jobs! (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134610)

Sure!!! you would have been happy to work on the assembly line.... I was an artist amongst thousands unable to live from my work.... I am more concerned about the use (present/near future) of robots in warfare, than of robots doing doodles... You are going to see more and more robots, you better get used to it. Best Patrick tresset

Re:They took our jobs! (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135234)

Hopefully they'll steal every job on the entire planet.

I have better things to do with my life than working.

Re:They took our jobs! (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139634)

That would be the goal, but it is anti-capitalistic. Those who own the robots shall reap the profits.

Re:They took our jobs! (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140398)

Yeah, just like cameras and photocipiers stole the work of artists too.

The robot is a tool, and may need some form of an artist to program or operate it. It's no worse than going from baking your own charcoal to using a modern pencil.

There are non-low-cost exhibits like that... (2, Interesting)

iNetRunner (613289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133684)

There is an exhibit [abb.com] in China Science and Technology Museum that also draws pictures. This is made of four ABB robots, so perhaps the cost is a bit more.. =)

Sorry, I could not find any representative pictures what this exhibit draws.

Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133768)

Singular is "automaton", plural is "automata".

I thought the article was about facelifts. (2, Funny)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134132)

I misread the title as "Low-Cost Robotic Arm Stretches Faces." That really didn't sound like it would be very fun.

Re:I thought the article was about facelifts. (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134518)

I might be able to get funding for that...cool idea Patrick

Exceeded the limited bandwidth ...Solution (3, Insightful)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134204)

please look on youtube!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOtQAhblRps [youtube.com]

Re:Exceeded the limited bandwidth ...Solution (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134912)

The comparison between how the robot sketches faces and the various other "how to sketch faces" instruction videos that YouTube helpfully provides is interesting. It looks like the robot is using some sort of priority algorithm for deciding the next stroke that has no concept of either the current stroke or the basic features of the face itself.

So while a human sketch artist builds a face out of a library of pre-defined components that are effectively parameterized by the particular individual being sketched, it looks like the robot is doing something quite different at the drawing stage, even if it is doing some kind of decomposition of the face into to components at the analysis stage.

What would impress me (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134580)

I'd RTFA, but it's down...

What would impress me would be if it did facial recognition to find the face, then tried drawing using the arm, compared the drawing to the image and adjusted as it went until it was finally graded 'acceptable' by a human, at which point it would lock down its algorithm.

Not mentioned is that he was using linux.... (3, Informative)

dopeghost (107650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135382)

I went to Kinetica the other day and saw this and was definitely impressed. What i don't think is obvious from RTFA was that he was running Ubuntu! There were actually 3 individual arms setup, all communicating thru a wireless access point to a laptop he had in front of him. There were even mini postcards he was giving out with a rather dashing interpretation of Alan Turing on it :)

Re:Not mentioned is that he was using linux.... (1)

ptresset (1744824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31136304)

That's very kind....makes my day.... There was also Ada Lovelace on the other side of the card...... Tech details... Ubuntu, python http://www.python.org/ [python.org] enthought http://code.enthought.com/ [enthought.com] opencv http://opencv.willowgarage.com/ [willowgarage.com] yarp http://eris.liralab.it/yarp/ [liralab.it] KDL http://www.orocos.org/kdl [orocos.org] Gamera http://gamera.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] Shapely http://pypi.python.org/pypi/Shapely/ [python.org] few other bits and pieces Hardware: Dell xps13, Intel atom motherboards, 1gig ram, 4gig usb thumb drive, and wifi dongle, router... Arduinos, philips webcam, low cost micro servos, AX12 Bioloids servos, USB2Dynamixel, ikea lights and tables...that's about it..pen and paper...

Low cost robotic arms? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31136682)

I guess the real news here is that there are low cost robotic arms.

Looks painfully slow (1)

AlejoHausner (1047558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31136730)

Looking at the video, I would guess that it's doing some edge detection, stitching edge pixels into chains, and drawing each chain. However, the chains seem to be drawn in arbitrary order, and the robot arm spends most of its time "seeking", pen up, to the start of the next chain. It would have been nice to optimize the drawing order to get faster output. Hell, a human would have drawn the sketch a lot faster.

Of course, obtaining the optimal sequence is equivalent to the traveling salesman problem, but there's lots of cheap and easy-to-implement approximations to the TSP that could have been used.

Alejo

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140982)

I saw this robot at Kinetica. It was not very impressive. First of all, the hardware seemed poorly designed. It was incredibly shaky. When it drew a square around an image, the result were four wobbly lines that did not even connect.The software, of course, is the more interesting part - and a complete mystery. They had a screen showing a program doing edge detection or something similar on a face. They had a camera that was supposed to capture visitors and draw their portraits. Other than that, nothing was

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