Japanese artist and engineer “HYde JII” has turned an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner into a pretty impressive abstract expressionist painter. The robot, named Mr. Head (“Head-kun” in Japanese), a 15 year old Roomba, has retired his janitorial vacuum cleaner and taken up the arts.
Four plastic bottles hold acrylic paints while an Arduino-controlled tube and value system spatter paint on a canvas with programmed amounts and at set intervals as the robot runs through its usual random-wander routine. Mr. Head still uses the original Roomba recharging station to take a break when the rigors of expressionism start wearing him down.
HYde JII portrays himself as little more than Mr. Head’s spokesman:
I am in charge of supporting Head-kun’s artistic activities, his promotional campaigns, and taking care of him in his daily life. As an artist, Head-kun will be working vigorously, so please put in a good word for him.
And he obviously wants to see Mr. Head gain recognition as a real artist:
Our biggest objective is to let the world know about Head-kun’s artwork. If you think he’s interesting, it would be nice for you to share that with your friends and family. We want to provide him with a chance to share his work.
We think he’s interesting. So we’re sharing.
The paintings are for sale. There are two to date (that we know of), seen here. Spring Worm Hole (2014) is the salmon-colored piece, Spring Starburst (2015), the pink and yellow canvas. You can message Mr. Head’s agent (er… HYde JII again) on his website to find out more. I know I for one would be proud to have one of these lovely Mr. Head pieces in my home.
Thanks to my Facebook friend, Amy Morse, for the link.