Robotics

SprayPrinter's latest graffiti robot hits new heights

SprayPrinter's latest graffiti...
The next generation of SprayPrinter is designed to paint giant murals on hard-to-reach surfaces
The next generation of SprayPrinter is designed to paint giant murals on hard-to-reach surfaces
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The device runs up and down a cable, tracked by a computer determining its position at all times
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The device runs up and down a cable, tracked by a computer determining its position at all times
The five different colors can effectively mimic a full range of colors 
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The five different colors can effectively mimic a full range of colors 
The giant final mural
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The giant final mural
The next generation of SprayPrinter is designed to paint giant murals on hard-to-reach surfaces
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The next generation of SprayPrinter is designed to paint giant murals on hard-to-reach surfaces
The complex system still needs to be refined before the company produce a commercial product
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The complex system still needs to be refined before the company produce a commercial product
The five spray cans allow the device to create a full color mural without having to undertake multiple passes over the same lines
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The five spray cans allow the device to create a full color mural without having to undertake multiple passes over the same lines
The complexity of the system means that it will be some time before renegade graffiti artists can whip up images without permission
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The complexity of the system means that it will be some time before renegade graffiti artists can whip up images without permission
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SprayPrinter hit the scene in early 2016 with its innovative app-controlled device that can sit on the head of any can of spray paint and allow even the most inept artist to create wall-sized works of art. Now the company has taken things to a new level, developing a prototype that can climb up and down walls to create large-scale murals.

While 2017 has been looking like the year that drone graffiti would finally take off (pardon the pun), SprayPrinter has been working on an entirely different method to get artistic visions onto walls in hard-to-reach places. The company's prototype device builds on its earlier design by combining five spray cans, each with SprayPrinter heads attached, to a little robot that climbs a wall and paints whatever giant image it is programmed to.

The device runs up and down a cable, tracked by a computer determining its position at all times
The device runs up and down a cable, tracked by a computer determining its position at all times

Unlike the regular SprayPrinter, this new prototype doesn't use camera feedback to keep track of its location. Instead, this larger device is tracked by a computer that can constantly ascertain its position by calculating its place on the cable it runs up and down.

In this first full-scale demonstration the system also managed to create a full-color printed image on just one pass by modulating the duration of each color spray. Essentially it was color mixing between the five paints on the fly, but the color mixes were not actually on the surface of the wall. Small dots of different colors were actually printed side-by-side, so that when the eye views the mural from a distance those colors blend together.

The entire set up for this giant SprayPrinter effort is certainly not something a renegade graffiti artist could quickly pull off overnight, but the system is able to generate compelling murals in spaces that traditionally would be nearly impossible, or at least incredibly expensive, to navigate. Mihkel Joala, inventor of the original SprayPrinter, suggests this larger-scale device was always the logical end-point of his creation.

The five different colors can effectively mimic a full range of colors 
The five different colors can effectively mimic a full range of colors 

"At the very beginning of the startup we already had plans to build an automatic version to print big murals," explains Joala. "The handheld version was just first in line. In product development, there is no such thing as the final version, there will always be a next one, but we are hoping to launch a first stable version in a batch of about 50-100 printers at the end of this year and the fine-tuned user-friendly V2 about six months after that."

It is unclear exactly how long this prototype device took to create the mural shown in the video. Obviously some time passes, as day turns into night, so this isn't a swift process, but if SprayPrinter's commercial outcome for this prototype is relatively cost-effective then we expect to see more large-scale decorative walls in the future.

"We have declared a war on boring blank walls," Joala concludes.

Watch the giant mural come to life in the video below.

Source: SprayPrinter / YouTube

Robot Muralist - Sprayprinted Mural on a 90m High Tower

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2 comments
pmshah
Spray painters for making giant murals is practically ancient history. I have seen 3M system actually handling conventional spray guns with special nozzles make giant hoardings and that too more than 35 years ago, long before digital cameras / imaging even existed !
ljaques
Why are people giving time and headlines to these nasty taggers who ruin so much property with their unwanted paint? Catch them, throw them in jail, and put them on work furlough programs in cities to help remove the damage that they and others have done. Their output isn't art, it's defacement of a perfectly good wall/railroad car/fence, etc.