Ben Grosser's interactive robotic painting machine

Ben Grosser says:

I don't know if you'll recall, but we met in Champaign, IL in 2008 at a dinner following your lecture at the University of Illinois.  I described a machine I was planning to build at the time and you asked me to let you know when it was finished.  Well, it's a long while later, but the machine is now up and running!

I call it an interactive robotic painting machine.  It's an artificially intelligent system that paints its own body of work and makes its own decisions.  It also listens to its environment and considers what it hears as input into the painting process.

All of the details, including videos of the machine in operation, photographs of it, and photographs of its paintings, are on my website.

This includes a video of a recent collaborative art/music work for amplified violin and interactive robotic painting machine.

Ben Grosser's interactive robotic painting machine


  1. This is very cool, but seeing the colours getting mixed between each stroke is like repeated torture.

  2. I vaguely remember seeing a movie about something like this that was made I think it the 70s.

    1. Ed Ligget. Tuba, you might mean Harold Cohen’s AARON.  The software has evolved over the years and has controlled, e.g., a “turtle” that painted on the floor, a plotter like Ben Grosser’s, and a screen saver.

  3. It needs some way of using a different brush for each colour. As it goes on the colours get more and more muddy, because it’s just dipping the same brush into each pot.

    It’s a clever idea, but as KBert says, it needs refining.

  4. Well, if he’s already been refining since 2008, I can’t blame the artistic strategy of “abandoning” a work rather than “finishing” it at some time in the future.

  5. What a wonderful machine, what wonderful potential. Having machines make art isn’t a new idea that’s been around for a hundred years and there are giclee printers etc. that spray paint on any surface of any image you want. I don’t think that’s the point here. It’s a machine that paints based on feedback the big one flaw if you want to call it that is that the feedback it gets is only the sound of itself, which makes me wonder why the images are different. Very intriguing enterprise. Well done sir.

    1. It also functions as a member of a music ensemble, listening to and interacting with another musician:

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