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String Art From the Hand of a Robot

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A string art image of Ada Lovelace.

Technische Universitat Wien researchers have built a computer system that creates string art.

Credit: Technische Universitat Wien

Researchers at Technische Universitat Wien (TU Wien) in Austria have built a computer system that creates string art, an artistic technique in which hooks distributed on a frame are connected by strings back and forth until they form a perceptible image.

The system calculates the optimal thread path for an arbitrary given image and an industrial robot arranges the thread.

This is a difficult problem for computer scientists because the thread method cannot be used to mirror individual pixels, but only to draw continuous lines; a successful system must be able to find the best possible approximation of the digital image.

The task belongs to the class of so-called NP-hard problems, problems that cannot be solved accurately by computers in a reasonable amount of time.

TU Wien researcher Przemyslaw Musialski says, "Ultimately, we want to show how particularly difficult technical problems can be solved. In the String Art project, we work with methods that will play an important role in digital fabrication in the future."

From Technische Universitat Wien
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