A Robot Spent 36 Hours Painting This Abstract Masterpiece

Sarah Cascone on Twitter
Sarah Cascone on Twitter / Sarah Cascone on Twitter

Scientists have continued to aid the machines in their plot for world domination by developing ones that can walk, jump, run, fall, dance, and even create original works of art. The latest Rembrandt-robot comes from the team that created Instapainting, a service that allows people to commission human artists online to hand-paint anything from landscapes to animal portraits. For 36 hours, viewers on the live-streaming app Twitch were given the power to control the painting robot with script commands, creating an interesting swirl of colors and some identifiable shapes.

"The robot can move around the canvas and raise [and] lift a brush," read the instruction page on Twitch, which also offered specific information about the component values that could be used to control the machine. "What it does is up to you, whether that is painting something or world domination." In a statement to Artnet, Instapainting founder Chris Chen described the robot painting session as an "art project" and shared information about how the experiment went. Despite a few bots that tried to force the machine to paint vulgar imagery, Chen says that the project was "less organized" than previous trials, but it "mostly ran without issues … it was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test."

Artnet reports that the painting will be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to charity, though the specific charity has not yet been revealed. Watch a clip of the session below and stay tuned to the Instapainting Blog to see when the next live event is scheduled.