Initial 3D Sketches of Paint Head Complete
Though its probably obvious, the name of this new robot is a blend of Neural Nets and InkJets. The main idea being that it will use artificial intelligence to spray paint onto a canvas with jets of air. This initial sketch shows how this will be accomplished with an array of six airbrushes. Final design will include traditional brushes as well, but we will build that around this airbrush array as our experience is that paint delivery is the most difficult part of any painting robot. That is our primary goal, the delivery of paint to the brush and canvas.
Six airbrushes are being used so that a full color gamut can be achieve. The pigments in five of the air brushes will be cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white. The final airbrush will either have a "guest" pigment, or a paint thinner, perhaps water? Not sure yet.
The two most interesting aspect of this are why white and a thinning agent are being included.
The reason for the white is that the Neural Jet will be using creative feedback loops (see my TEDx Talk for details). This robot will need the ability to both add and subtract saturation. Unlike an inkjet printer that knows exactly what it will be printing and uses the white of the page, this robot will be re-evaluating each brush stroke and mark continuously, and repainting areas constantly. As such it will need the ability to lighten areas, and even erase by white washing.
The reason for the thinning agent is many fold, most importantly for brush washing and texture. We are still working out the final details, but this robot will have a brush and brushes need cleaning, so it would be nice to be able to apply pigments and clean them from the brush with this paint head. Another reason for a sixth airbrush is that it might be interesting to have a mystery fluid that simply gets mixed in once in a while to add texture. I am not sure what exactly will be needed, but I just feel like later in the process I will be wishing I had an extra airbrush, so I am including it in the initial design. Hope I don't end up needing two extra airbrush heads.