Robotics

Mr. Head, former-vacuum robot turned abstract artist, is selling his work on Kickstarter

Mr. Head, former-vacuum robot ...
After a decade cleaning this robot changed careers and became an artist
After a decade cleaning this robot changed careers and became an artist
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It takes Mr. Head at least a day to complete each piece
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It takes Mr. Head at least a day to complete each piece
Mr. Head uses a drip technique similar to that of Jackson Pollock
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Mr. Head uses a drip technique similar to that of Jackson Pollock
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
A suggested design for one of Mr. Head's upcoming artworks, incorporating a new ability to paint different splash strokes
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A suggested design for one of Mr. Head's upcoming artworks, incorporating a new ability to paint different splash strokes
The ex-Roomba turned artist ran out of money in 2015
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The ex-Roomba turned artist ran out of money in 2015
You can now commission original Mr. Head artworks
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You can now commission original Mr. Head artworks
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
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One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Worm Hole'
After a decade cleaning this robot changed careers and became an artist
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After a decade cleaning this robot changed careers and became an artist

Back in 2015 two pieces of abstract art appeared from an artist named Mr. Head. The art was notable due to the fact that Mr. Head was not a human being but actually an old Roomba robot vacuum, repurposed to become an expressionist painter. Now Mr. Head is back with a crowdfunding campaign allowing people to pre-order new one-of-a-kind artworks from this mechanical artist.

The robot's journey is described in its biography: "Only 15 years old, Mr. Head was created by the iRobot Corporation as a cleaning robot. In October of 2014 he changed careers and began his life anew as an artist in Tokyo."

Initially the robot produced two pieces but due to "unforeseen technical, development and equipment costs," its artistic activity was paused until now. Much like many a human artist, Mr. Head is embarking on a journey into crowdfunding to raise money to produce its art.

One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'
One of Mr. Head's 2015 artworks titled 'Spring Starburst'

Mr. Head's development is "overseen" by Japanese artist Masato Yamaguchi and it is unclear exactly how independent the vacuum cleaner's creativity actually is. But the upcoming crowdfunded works are to be produced by a new version of the device, stated as being much more autonomous that the previous iteration.

A new function will allow external environmental factors including weather and temperature to decide on the device's color choices. Another new function allows Mr. Head to disperse paint from the top of its body resulting in a greater variety of splatter patterns on top of the previous, classic drip method from earlier work.

Mr. Head uses a drip technique similar to that of Jackson Pollock
Mr. Head uses a drip technique similar to that of Jackson Pollock

An original Mr. Head canvas will not come cheap though. The campaign is offering three size options, a smaller 530mm (20.8 in) X 530mm piece for ¥78,000 (US $737) or a larger 1000mm (39.3 in) X 1000mm piece for ¥198,000 ($1,300). Those happy to go all in on this robotic experiment can get a massive 2000mm (78.7 in) X 1000mm piece for ¥1,000,000 ($9,460). Those less interested in owning the original canvas can but an exclusive print of one of Mr. Head's upcoming works for ¥6,800 ($64).

Delivery dates look to vary with some pieces not expected to be ready until December, but that isn't surprising considering it takes the robot a whole day to create just one painting. While we don't think art galleries should be making space next to their Jackson Pollock pieces for Mr. Head just yet, it is certainly telling that robot artists, just like their human compatriots, are also turning to crowdfunding platforms to finance their artistic dreams.

Take a look at Mr. Head in the video below.

Source: Tails of Head

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1 comment
Robert_J_Miskines_II
I wonder if Mr. Head's algorithm could be reversed engineered based on image analysis techniques. I imaged it would get a bit more difficult if Mr. Head starts to use environmental variables.