Affordable robot drawing arm brings computer sketches to life on paper
Using a pen or paintbrush, this small WiFi-connected robot arm is able to recreate on paper, whatever you draw on a touchscreen device.
The portable robot arm, called Line-us, is the brainchild of product designer Durrell Bishop and technologist Robert Poll, who have raised funds for the project on Kickstarter.
Controlled by an accompanying app, the robot is programmed to mimic the motion of the hand, drawing each line in exactly the same order and copying precisely the drawing style and character.
The robot is able to hold a pen or paintbrush of the user's choice, while a metal plate enables it to securely sit on a piece of paper, a sketchbook, diary or notebook. It can also be hung on a wall or mounted on a fridge thanks to its magnetic base.
The drawings created using Line-us can be saved, sent as messages or published to a public gallery. Sent drawings can then be recreated on paper by other Line-us users.
Small enough to be easily carried around, the robot arm connects to power via a USB battery. Other features include the ability to trace directly from a camera or photos, and erase, mirror or enlarge drawings.
The Line-us app is compatible with iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, Android smartphones, and Mac and PC laptops. Drawings can be created using fingers, a stylus, Wacom tablets or the Apple Pencil.
Line-us can also be programmed with new functionalities using coding platforms such as Raspberry Pi and Scratch.
"Line-us encourages drawing and experimenting," explained the Line-us founders. "It’s great fun to watch Line-us move, but best of all it makes you want to draw. Line-us has its own drawing style and character, it’s not a plotter or printer – it’s a drawer!"
The Kickstarter campaign, which easily surpassed its £39,000 funding target, allowed backers to get their hands on the first 1000 machines, which are now in production.
While backers were able to purchase the robots for £69 and £49, the eventual retail price is expected to be around £99.
In March, British studio Those launched a connected whiteboard that also uses an app-controlled robot arm to draw everything from illustrations to shopping lists.
Called Joto, the arm can be directed to draw whatever the user wants – whether that's recreating existing illustrations or logos, or penning a personal message or drawing.