Yes, that's exactly what it looks like -- a robot that can look at a human face and make a pretty reasonable sketch of it. Featured at London's Kinetica art fair last week, the Aikon 2 project boasts an "inexpensive" robot arm and software developed by a research team at Goldsmiths University of London. As you might have guessed, building a device with rudimentary artistic ability is no mean feat -- leading the developers to try and understand and simulate the processes by which artists sketch the human face, including: visual perception of the subject and the sketch, drawing gestures, cognitive activity, reasoning, and the influence of training. The project's website emphasizes that "due to knowledge and technological limitations the implementation of each process will remain coarse and approximate." In other words, the robot "is expected to draw in its own style." Which is, quite frankly, better than we can do. We look forward to seeing these things in the cafes of the future, where robots not only fetch us drinks but chat up girls with offers to draw their portraits. Video after the break.
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