E-David isn't the first industrial robotic arm that's been re-programmed to paint. There have been many similar creations before it, but they've all worked sort of like elaborate photocopiers, perfectly recreating a digital image stored in memory. What sets e-David apart is that it's the first robot painter that constantly adapts its technique and brush strokes as it works based on what it's seeing through a camera pointed at its canvas.
Robot arms are designed and built to perfectly reproduce the same movements again and again, so in the past it's been hard to classify what a robot painter produces as 'art' since technically it's just reproducing a digital image. But using the feed from a camera, the software that powers e-David continually analyzes the paint strokes that have been added, deciding where to put the next stroke based on where shade or light needs to be added to perfect its masterpiece.
And with 24 shades and five different brushes at its disposal, e-David has created some stunning pieces so far. Because the robot hasn't spent much time exploring the real world, it still needs to be fed an image to use as inspiration for its creations. But thanks to its unique artistic approach, the results are always unique—to the point where we wouldn't be surprised to see e-David get its own gallery showing, or eventually go crazy and cut off one of its microphones. [The Creators Project via Notcot]