Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dog Learns to Paint

Three of the company’s robot dogs will be trained to paint autonomously and work in a gallery

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

April 11, 2023

2 Min Read

Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, will soon be going from the factory floor to the art gallery, with three of its robots to be featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) Triennial, an arts festival in Melbourne, Australia.

The robot dogs will be trained to paint autonomously by Polish-born Agnieszka Pilat, and will work in the gallery over a four-month period painting a “monolithic durational work.”

The NGV said the work will explore the “power of technology in contemporary society … Pilat imagines that in a distant future these paintings will be revered as the first primitive art-making of AI-enabled robots.”

To create the work, the robots will be given sticks of oil paint which they can autonomously move on the canvas, choosing from a range of pre-programmed brush strokes. 

The Triennial opens in December, though members of the public will be able to watch the robots create the artwork in the months prior to its exhibition.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and its Health Transformation Lab is donating one of its robot dogs as part of its research into how humans respond to autonomous robots being integrated into public spaces.

“Art is thought of as a uniquely human endeavor, indicative of the difference between humanity and other creatures,” said Brad Crammond, RMIT’s chief investigator. “Seeing a robot creating art, in Melbourne’s premier gallery, challenges our ideas about what a robotic future could look like.”

“Our social robotics collaborations are pushing boundaries on the myriad elements of human-robot relationships and interactions, and deepening our understanding of the interface between the two,” said Nithya Solomon, director of the Health Transformation Lab. “This partnership with NGV is another avenue for looking at that interplay on a large scale. It will assist us on numerous fronts, from providing insights on community perceptions to catalyzing public discourse on themes of robotics in life.”

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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