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Teacher Tips icon Teacher Tips

  • Call attention to the fact that robots don't have to look human to be considered a robot. A robot is any machine that is capable of carrying out a complex series of tasks automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.

  • We recognize that Wikipedia is not to be used as a primary source reference. However, students can use the linked Wikipedia page to identify names of robots and organizations to research further.

Creative Robots
Robot using an art tool

Creative Robots

Robots usually come to mind when speaking about math, science, or engineering. However, as technology seeps into all aspects of our lives, robots are everywhere, including the art world. With the development of artificial intelligence, artists are now able to watch as robots not only replicate famous works of art, but create art of their own. These robots aren't just mimicking brushstrokes, but the actual process a human artist uses to paint. Some artistic teams are working on a variety of methods including using a remote control to guide a robot's paintbrush, using eye-tracking systems to determine the robot's movements on a canvas, and programming a robot to disassemble and reconstruct input images. Robots can use these abilities to allow the physically disabled to create art via remote control. All these developing techniques produce innovative new works that art viewers can appreciate.

Extend Your Learning icon Extend Your Learning

To expand this activity, ask your students to explore the potential uses of robotics in the creative arts (music, theater, film, and visual arts). Students should select one of the arts, examine the ways in which robots are used within the chosen category, and imagine future uses of robotics in the field. Students should also identify companies that are profiting from artificial intelligence (AI) in these industries.

To connect this activity to the many uses of robotics in the world, ask your students to research the characteristics of humanoid robots. Students should explore a variety of uses for such robots in the social, animal, domestic, mobility, rescue, and astronautical or aerospace industries.

Motivate Discussion icon Motivate Discussion

After students have explored the use of robotics in the creative arts, discuss their findings and ideas as a group.
Q: What are ways in which robots are used in music?
A: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to create and compose original music. Algorithms are being used in a variety of ways throughout the music industry, from identifying new talent and personal music preference to promotions and marketing.

Q: What are ways in which robots are used in theater?
A: Oriza Hirata, a Japanese playwright and director, uses robots as characters within his play as a way to show coexistence between humans and robots in the arts using a social humanoid robot. These types of robots are developed by companies, such as Hitachi, Honda, Sony, Fujitsu and Toyota.

Q: What are ways in which robots are used in film?
A: Animatronics are used to emulate lifelike movements to inanimate objects and characters in movies without using Computer Generated Imaging (CGI). For example, some of the dinosaurs shown in the Jurassic Park movies were animatronics. Also, robots and AI technologies are used in script development, settings, and filming. In Hollywood, machine learning technology is applied to analyze and identify target audience, box office revenue forecasts after trailer debuts, and social media targeted advertising campaigns.

Q: What are ways in which robots are used in the visual arts?
A: Robots, such as the e-David, use visual optimization to make artistic decisions while recreating works of art. The Association for Robots in architecture is pushing to make robots accessible to the creative industry using the KUKA robot. The KUKA robot is a technological tool used to optimize architectural designs.