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Sketching robot makes art look easy

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 - 01:22

March 8 - German scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute are showing off a 'sketching robot' at the world's largest computer fair, Cebit, in Hanover. The robot take a photograph of its subject before analyzing their face and sketching what it sees. Jim Drury reports.

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Its art doesn't rival Van Gogh or Picasso, but this sketching robot was a star attraction at the Cebit computer fair in Hanover. The caricaturist can draw an accurate likeness of its subject in three minutes, according to Karin Stein, from Fraunhofer, the company which designed it. SOUNDBITE (German) HEAD OF FRAUNHOFER INSTITUTE'S SIGNATORICS DEPARTMENT, KARIN STEIN, SAYING: "This robot here which was made for Cebit portrays a person. It sketches characteristic features such as glasses, the nose, ears. At our laboratory, we have the same robot system which is being used to test the quality of materials, especially reflection features." Those reflection features are crucial in the manufacture of reflective clothing for road workers and the building of street signs. But the robot's abiliity to gauge light reflection off various surfaces is also applicable to its second career as an artist. The robot works by taking a black-and-white photograph of the subject, before its internal computer calculates the contrasts and contours of the face, allowing it to create a recognisable portrait. The robot cost more than 40,000 euros to build, so street artists fearful of losing trade to a robotic competitor can hang on to their paintbrushes.... for now. Jim Drury, Reuters

Sketching robot makes art look easy

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 - 01:22

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