Google IO’s most pointless surprise is also its best

Chris Burns - May 19, 2016, 3:25pm CDT
Google IO’s most pointless surprise is also its best

This year’s Google IO developers conference had both a brand new mostly-outdoor venue and a rather brightly-colored surprise. This surprise was a robot arm – one that was able to paint a cube in front of our very eyes. What’s awesome about this robot arm – beyond the fact that it’s a robot with a paint brush – is that it’s not entirely pre-programmed. Paint colors and actions are selected by users like yourself with a smartphone app dedicated to said actions.

The robot itself is not strictly new – there’ve been robots like these dedicated to painting devices and vehicles for a number of years now. What’s new here is the exhibition – the control you, the smartphone user, hold over the display.

Large plexiglass panels shielded the public from the artwork just in case of a rogue blast of color. The robot and the rotating block on which the white cube sat were controlled separately.

We’ve got to applaud the people who proposed this display for Google I/O, imagining the meeting at which that took place. “We’d like to put a robot out at Google I/O that flings paint at a cube, a cube which is controlled by passers-by. What could go wrong?”

As goodness would have it, nothing really went wrong at all. Everything went right – through the time when this article ends up being published, that is. You never know about the future!

ALSO: If you are the artist / engineer behind this art project, please let us know! We’d love to give you credit as this is, indeed, a place where credit is due. Good on colorful, bright-blast-loving you.

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