Students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute have been recognized for designing a robot that creates artwork. The group's project won the $5,000 top prize at the ABB Robotic Drawing Competition in Houston.

March 25, 2015

News Release

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – A trio of students has captured first-place honors in an international competition by designing a robot that creates artwork.

Charles Baechler, a mechanical engineering major from Oakton, Virginia; Eric Guilford, a computer science major from Guilford, Indiana; and Sean Kling, a mechanical engineering major from Miamisburg, Ohio earned the $5,000 top prize in the ABB Robotic Drawing Competition that was part of the Automation Power World’s tradeshow earlier this month in Houston.

As a senior-year capstone project, the students wrote a software program that makes a robotic arm draw artistic designs. The winning drawing was the robot’s reproduction of a character from Dragon Ball Z, an animated Japanese adventure series.

The robotic art project, part of Rose-Hulman’s multidisciplinary robotics program, is being supported by Andrew Conru, a 1990 Rose-Hulman economics and mechanical engineering graduate with an interest in seeing if robots can replicate artworks. He has supplied the team with two sophisticated robot arms, one from the Swedish industrial robotics company ABB, to provide Rose-Hulman students with a creative learning experience and creating beautiful objects using robotics technology.

The students are striving to program the robot to use brushes to duplicate images by applying paint colors to canvas. Eventually, the robot will mix colors and correct errors while working.

“We’re thinking this will become a multi-year project,” Guilford said.

Mechanical engineering professor David Fisher, PhD, is the team’s faculty mentor.

About Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is dedicated to preparing its students with the world’s best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an environment infused with innovation, intellectual rigor, and individualized attention. The college, located in Terre Haute, Indiana, has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students. A national survey of engineering department deans and senior faculty, conducted for U.S. News & World Report’s College Guide, has consistently ranked Rose-Hulman and its academic programs No. 1 in undergraduate engineering education. The Princeton Review’s Best 300 Professors book features six professors from Rose-Hulman—the only institution of higher learning in Indiana to be featured.

Source: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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