Kinds of Robot 4 AMR
AMR = Autonomous Mobile Robot
This kind of robot is most interesting to me because of its potential for mark making.
Autonomous means the robot is fully self contained-- not tethered or cabled to a another computer and not remoted controlled. The robot must operate solely on its own behavior (sense, think, act). That makes software especially challenging. First, the computer is likely to be small and limited. Second, the software must be capable of dealing with many situations and not shut down or get confused. Fortuanately, the behavior based software scheme developed by Rodney Brooks at MIT provides a good model. See Joseph L. Jones, "Robot Programming, A Practical Guide to Behavior-Based Robotics" from Tab. If your robot book budget is for only one book this should be the one.
Mobile means the robot moves through its environment, senses things about that environment through touch, light, color, etc. For my work this means that the robot is mobile upon the canvas.
Most drawing by computers is done with plotters or printers. Plotters are usually bigger, sometimes much bigger than the paper it plots on. Most plotters and printers move the paper not themselves because they weigh much more than the target surface. My robots must be smaller than the canvas so that it can manueveur upon it. Also the robot weight matters because it cannot depress or dent the canvas -- the larger the canvas the more this matters because the distance between supports increases.
Most of my robots are walking robots. This contributes to the quality of the mark. Whenever something walks the moment comes when it must commit its weight to one foot so that the other side is free to move. This causes center of gravity shifting (COGS). I use COGS to increase the dynamics in the brushwork.
I have made painting AMR's for several years now. My robots continuously evolve and are significantly different than any other AMR's I have seen. First, I use actual paint brushes and must deal with the many dynamics of brush handling (pressure, direction, orientation, deflectioin, twisting and many more) This is a lot more than pressing a marker or pen down constantly.
Ken Goldberg has done a couple of projects that show awareness of brush dynamics and I am sure there are others. Harold Cohen engineered these dynamics out of his process.
I hope by this time that people realize that painting with robots is a lot more difficult than painting without robots.