Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot to paint for an art exhibition The Talks Today
Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot to paint for an art exhibition

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot to paint for an art exhibition

Boston Dynamics’ remarkable Spot robot has been available to a range of industries for some time to assist with tasks such as inspection, mapping and tracking.

But the talented four-legged robot has also caught the attention of artist Agnieszka Pilat, who uses Spot to create various works of art.

Artist Agnieszka Pilat and robot Spot from Boston Dynamics. NVG

In Pilato’s latest project, he will train three Spot robots to paint a painting for the National Gallery of Victoria (NVG) in Melbourne, Australia.

To create their masterpiece, the robots will use sticks of oil paint on an acrylic sanded canvas attached to the wall, writes the Guardian. The process will be carried out by robots autonomously, although they will be pre-programmed with a series of brush strokes that they will choose during the creation of the artwork.

The Guardian describes Spots’ existing paintings as “often childish,” though Pilat, who in recent years has sold work to Silicon Valley players such as telecoms billionaire Craig McCaw and former Waymo CEO John Krafcik, attributes that to a deliberate choice to program while seeing the machines as “a young children in human years, who know much but understand very little.”

The training and painting process for the NVG project will take the robots about four months to complete, and the artwork will hopefully be ready in time for the NVG Triennial, which opens in December.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and its Health Transformation Lab are lending their own Spot robot to Pilate, while also conducting research to learn more about how people respond to the introduction of autonomous robots into their spaces.

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Brad Crammond of RMIT commented: “Art is seen as a uniquely human endeavour, marking the difference between humanity and other creatures.”

He added: “Seeing a robot making art, in a major Melbourne gallery, challenges our ideas of what a robotic future might look like.”

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