DOT MAGIC

This little drone could be the next Michelangelo

Scientists at McGill University have developed a robot that could conceivably rank as one of the world’s great artists. Well, sort of.

The team of scientists, led by Paul Kry, has written complex algorithms that allow a small quadcopter drone to fly in front of a canvas and to paint on it using daubs of ink. The process is called stippling and resembles the so-called hedcut portrait illustrations that were once used extensively by newspapers like the Wall Street Journal.

The drone works in conjunction with a computer that transmits directions on how to fly near the canvas, and uses motion capture sensors to precisely know its position. When it is in a location where a dot should be, the drone flies forward and gently daubs a spot of ink on the canvas. As you can see in the video, it’s remarkably precise. So far, it has managed to paint pictures of computer scientist Alan Turing and actress Grace Kelly.

Next up is a far more complicated version of a Japanese wave painting. After that, the Sistine Chapel?

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