Meet Paul, the robot who can draw portraits

Posted June 27th, 2011

Drawing, Technology, Videos

“Tenderpixel is proud to present Patrick Tresset’s newest work at the crossing of art, robotics and computing. This work is supported in part by a Leverhulme Trust grant held at the Computing Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Tresset uses what he calls “clumsy robotics” to create autonomous cybernetic entities that are playful projections of the artist. For his Tenderpixel exhibit (until 09 July, 2011 at Tenderpixel, 10 Cecil Court, Soho, London WC2N 4HE), Tresset will present three robotic installations that each embody the draughtsman as a single minded entity that draws to let time flow.

Gallery visitors will be able to have their face sketched by Tresset’s robots. For Tresset, his cybernetic face-sketcher does not pretend to be human. It is only an obsessive drawing entity. It has “eyes” linked to an artificial mind which imperfectly simulates a small part of Tresset’s abilities. Its singular drawing arm has limited freedom of gestures which makes it only able to apply simple tracing and erasing actions. Yet, it is capable of displaying attention and purpose when focusing on a sitter or their image and drawing their face in a style akin to Tresset’s own panoply. The impact of intention is even more striking if the action slightly fails, such as when the arm is attempting to draw a straight line but not managing to perfectly do so.

Paul the robot drawing Patrick at tenderpixel gallery, London. Paul the robot is part of Patrick Tresset’s exhbition at tenderpixel in central London.

Patrick Tresset is currently a researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London. After an interruption of almost seven years in his artistic practice, Tresset has found his medium of expression by diverting his on-going academic research he conducts in collaboration with Prof. Frederic Fol Leymarie from the Department of Computing. Their Aikon-II project investigates the sketching activity through computational modeling and robotics. Aikon-II is currently in part funded by the Leverhulme Trust ( Aikon has received in the past year notable media attention including from the BBC, Wired, Blueprint, New Scientist, El-Mundo (”

Aikon2 – Skediomata robotic system drawing faces

More videos of the robots over here.