RobotArt Competition Seeks Next Great Robot Painter

Robots must be able to paint with a brush.

Carnegie Mellon University's robot painter. Image: Courtesy of RobotArt
Carnegie Mellon University's robot painter.
Image: Courtesy of RobotArt

A new competition is searching for the next great robot painter, and $100,000 is at stake. The 2016 1st-Annual International RobotArt Competition seeks to encourage the advancement and convergence of art and technology. But what sounds like the looming advance of the singularity is actually just a pseudo-artistic spin on a classic robotics competition.

Robotic teams from colleges and high schools around the world are invited to create robots that can make paintings with a physical brush and up to eight colors of paint. For a competition that aspires to advance art and technology together, the requirement of a brush and a limited color palette seems incredibly creatively stifling.

George Washington University's entry to the RobotArt Competition. <br>Image: Courtesy of RobotArt</br>

George Washington University’s entry to the RobotArt Competition.
Image: Courtesy of RobotArt.

“Fundamental to the competition is the belief that creativity and expression is not limited to the art world,” the website explains. Admittedly, the art world can be cold to outsiders, but maybe the RobotArt team members should take a class in art history. Then they would know that robot art is nothing new, from Jean Tinguely‘s kinetic sculptures in the 1960s, to contemporary dancing machines, to robotic docents giving tours of museums, to crowd-sourced robot paintings.

eDavid, the University of Konstanz's entry. <br>Image: Courtesy of RobotArt</br>

eDavid, the University of Konstanz’s entry.
Image: Courtesy of RobotArt.

The competition is sponsored by internet entrepreneur Andrew Conru. Conru is known for founding the FriendFinder Network, a collection of social media sites designed to help users find friends of various persuasions. Among the network are JewishFriendFinder, SeniorFriendFinder, AsiaFriendFinder, and, most notoriously, AdultFriendFinder.

The cash prizes for the RobotArt Competition, which will be awarded to ten software-generated robot artists, five manually-generated robot artists, and one “top technical contributor,” presumably come from Conru’s various online entrepreneurial endeavors.


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