The Draw-lab robotics lab in Goldsmiths has recently joined the EACVA project. The lab features a collaborative robot arm equipped with vision feedback and a pen-plotter. Both platforms can be easily adapted with different kinds of drawing tools. While less mature than the Konstanz lab, the Goldsmiths lab is under rapid development and provides additional flexibility when implementing safe artist-robot collaboration scenarios.
Available painting machines
Franka Emika Research 3 (FR3)
The FR3 is a seven-axis collaborative robot (cobot) that is widely used within the robotic research community. Its seven degrees of freedom (DOF) result in a degree of articulation similar to a human arm, a feature that is particularly useful when controlling the orientation of a drawing tool. The FR3 is designed to enable full customization of its control loop, enabling the implementation of controllers that can react to perturbations with varying stiffness levels. The robot has two “guiding” buttons on the wrist that allow a user to rapidly demonstrate and record motions that can be replayed by the robot.
The FR3 drawing on a tilted canvas and holding different drawing tools. Images by Daniel Berio 2023
Drawing tool attachment
Drawing tools can be easily used by the robot through a custom-built 3d printed attachment that connects to a screw-based pen holder identical to the one used by the AxiDraw plotter. The attachment is designed so it fits tightly in the robot’s gripper, enabling simple switching between different tools.
The robotic arm is mounted on a workbench in front of a custom-built drawing pad with adjustable inclination. The drawing pad is constructed with aluminum profiles and can be easily extended with pen/brush holders and palettes. The guiding mode of the robot can be used to create new motions for picking/placing drawing tools rapidly or to reach palettes and ink/paint containers.
The robot is equipped with a wrist-mounted Intel Realsense D435 color and depth camera. We also provide a higher-resolution Canon EOS 2000D camera, which can also be controlled programmatically.
The control software is currently under heavy development. It currently enables recording and replaying recording demonstrated motions such as picking/placing, calibration of the drawing plane, path planning, computing the inverse kinematics for drawing tool trajectories, visualizing the resulting joint trajectories, simulating the behavior of the robot, and finally executing the motions with the robot. The software is mostly written in Python with a C++ backend and is easy to extend and customize while taking advantage of the rich Python library ecosystem. The software can also be easily interfaced with the Robotics Operating System (ROS) but currently does not require it to run.
AxiDraw SE A3
The Draw-lab also provides access to an AxiDraw SE A3 pen plotter. A popular choice among digital/generative artists, the AxiDraw is an easy-to-use pen plotter that can be easily equipped with various drawing tools and easily controlled through the vector drawing program Inkscape or a Python programming interface.