WaterColorBot. Looks like an amazing tool for people who have low hand/arm dexterity. They can still create! (via WaterColorBot's kickstarter)
Back in April of this year (2013), the White House hosted a national science fair in conjunction with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program that brought 100 students to Washington from all over the nation. Showcased were a mix of different projects ranging from oil producing algae to UUVs as well as a myriad of game and app coders, rocket designers and even city planners. One student focused on creating watercolor artwork and was able to incorporate it seamlessly into today’s technology, which was demonstrated for President Obama in the State Dining Room. The student, Sylvia Todd (AKA Super Awesome Sylvia on her YouTube Channel), designed and developed her WaterColorBot with the help of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, which functions much like it sounds. Her initial goal was to design an art robot to enter into the 2013 RoboGames in the Artbot Painting category where she took the silver medal behind Poland-based KoNaRobotic’s Calliope sketch robot. Realizing that the bot was not constrained as a single project, the team (Both Sylvia and EMSL) decided to develop the bot into a stand-alone kit where it was also showcased at this year’s Maker Faire.
WaterColorBot is in essence a computer automated numerically controlled CNC machine (and can function as one to boot) that is able to paint in watercolors taking its information from input through paint-based software from desktop PCs, laptops or mobile devices. The bot functions much like a pen plotter (or Etch-a-Sketch) and uses two motors to move the paintbrush mechanism along the X and Y-axis. The brush carriage, also outfitted with a tiny servo, allows for the brush to be descended or elevated depending on the task. Vector and elevation is controlled through an onboard The EiBotBoard 2.0 USB motor controller that gets its instructions from files based on the SVG format, however a number of other formats may be used (PDF, Illustrator, etc.) after being converted using Inkscape. The WaterColorBot is currently being funded through Kickstarter in order to get the kit manufactured en masse so that other artists can get their respective creations showcased on refrigerator doors all over the globe; the initial funding goal of $50,000 US has been surpassed with a total of over $75,000 (not bad for some starving artists). Those interested in getting their hands on a first-production run of the bot can pledge $295 or more (the $275 version has sold out at this time) and will receive one WaterColorBot kit (with some assembly required). Backers at that price-point should receive theirs by mid-December, just in time for the holidays (you may have enough time to use it and give the gift of art!). Lazy automation or artistic tool?
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