McGill University

We are exploring the use quadrotors for creating murals. We are motivated by the computational and engineering challenges, and excited about the possibilities and the aesthetics of stippling with flying robots. The team is headed by Professor Paul Kry, and includes important contributions from both undergraduates and grad students at McGill university. We use motion capture to measure the position of the robot and the canvas, and a robust control algorithm to command the robot to fly to different stipple positions to make contact with the canvas using an ink soaked sponge. Challenges that must be addressed for successful control in our implementation include robot model estimation, Kalman filtering for state estimation, latency between motion capture and control, radio communication interference, and control parameter tuning. We use a centroidal Voronoi diagram to generate stipple drawings, and compute a greedy approximation of the traveling salesman problem to draw as many stipples per flight as possible, while accounting for desired stipple size and dynamically adjusting future stipples based on past errors. An exponential function models the natural decay of stipple sizes as ink is used in a flight. In our latest work, currently under review for publication at a robotics conference, we are using a tether to provide power, and having the robot visit an ink cup to refill the ink soaked sponge, much like a hummingbird drinks from a flower.

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