Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics

Art Robots and Cognitive Models



Alexander Schubert, Katja Mombaur - IWR
Michael Raschke
- previously at IWR, now at VIS, University of Stuttgart
Joachim Funke - Dept. Of Psychology, Heidelberg


This project not only involves aspects of scientific computing and the cognitive sciences, but also of fine arts and robotics.

We have developed the robot JacksonBot which is capable to produce paintings inspired by the Action Painting style of Jackson Pollock. A dynamically moving robot arm splashes color from a container at the end effector on the canvas. The paintings produced by this platform rely on a combination of the algorithmic generation of robot arm motions with random effects of the splashing color. The robot can be considered as a complex and powerful tool to generate art works programmed by a user. Desired end effector motions can be prescribed either by mathematical functions, by point sequences or by data glove motions. We have evaluated the effect of different shapes of input motions on the resulting painting. In order to compute the robot joint trajectories necessary to move along a desired end effector path, we use an optimal control based approach to solve the inverse kinematics problem. In this context, the dynamic robot arm acts as an extended tool operated by the human programmer.

In more recent research, we investigate the possibility of creating mathematical models of cognition, perception, evaluation and generation of artistic objects such as paintings. In psychology and art history, many studies have been performed on the characteristics of artworks and how they are perceived and evaluated by a spectator, on the aesthetics of art, and on the process of creating a piece of art from the artist's perspective. We aim to transfer some of this accumulated knowledge into mathematical models. For evaluation purposes, the models developed are implemented on robotic platforms and the outcome assessed by human test candidates. For this, we not only use the above mentioned robot arm, but also a small humanoid Nao robot.



M. Raschke, K. Mombaur, A. Schubert: An optimization-based robot platform for the generation of action paintings, International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2010, in print

M. Raschke. K. Mombaur, A. Schubert : JacksonBot - Design, Simulation and Optimal Control of an Action Painting Robot, ArtsIT 2009, YiLan, Taiwan, Sept. 2009, Springer Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 2010, Volume 30, Part 2, 120-127

K. Mombaur,
Last Update: 19.10.2011 - 16:03

The photographs in the header of this webpage have been taken at the Musee de l'Automate in Souillac, France