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Now, string art created by a robot


Scientists say they have used a robot to create string art, a visual artwork where images emerge from a set of strings that are spanned between pins. The basic idea of string art is simple: hooks distributed on a frame are connected by strings back and forth until they fuse to a perceptible image, said researchers from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria.

That way, very interesting geometric patterns can be created, and true experts even manage to create portraits, they said. Traditionally, artists craft such images manually in a highly sophisticated and tedious design process which requires experience and a steady hand.

In the new technique, the computer calculates the optimal thread path from an arbitrary given image and an industrial robot then takes over the job of arranging the thread. "From a scientific point of view, this is a very interesting problem because it is particularly difficult to solve," said Przemyslaw Musialski from the Vienna University of Technology.

In general, a picture cannot be exactly reproduced in this way -- the thread method cannot be used to set individual pixels, but only to draw continuous lines, Musialski said. The goal of the study was to produce true "string art" in a fully automated manner, researchers said.

A high-precision industrial robot was used to span a single long thread across 256 hooks in order to create circular string art images with a diameter of 63 centimetres, researchers said. Even the industrial robot cannot complete this task in a jiffy: Depending on the image, the production takes two to five hours and requires between two and six kilometers of thread, they said.
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