If I built a robot that could do anything I wouldn’t name it something boring like Paul. That’s exactly what artists and designer Patrick Tresset did when he built his robotic arm that can draw people’s portraits. Paul the drawing robot is made intentionally to be messy rather than uber precise like most robots want to be. The bot is made to look at your face with a camera and then draw your face with a pen in what my 6-year-old daughter would call scribble-scrabble.
Tresset built the robot arm with loot from a grant for research. Tresset said that he made the bot sloppy and clumsy to “touch people.” I’d think it was cool even if the portraits were more precise. Still, Paul the robot arm draws faces with an ink pen better than I can. Future iterations of the robot will have software that allows the bot to view the drawings it makes and then improve them.
This arm reminds me more than a little of this portrait game at Chuck E. Cheese that my kids like that draws your photo with a pen rather than printing. The bot is constructed using cheap servomotors rather than industrial grade sorts that would allow for extreme precision. Check out the video below to see Paul in action and skip to 1:30 to see the actual drawing start.