(Natural News) Just because painting a wall – much less an entire house – is an arduous job doesn’t mean a robot should take over the job. But that is what a startup company called MIST has decided. An article in Digital Trends reports that they have developed an autonomous robot called Maverick that can complete a flawless paint job every single time.
MIST is an acronym for Mobile Intelligent Spraying Technologies. They believe that the traditional way of painting by hand is too expensive, sloppy, sluggish, and unsafe for humans.
According to their website, people in North America spend more than $1.5 billion each year on the services of 400,000 professional painters. Furthermore, more than 5,000 injuries related to paint jobs gone wrong are reported every year.
So the University of Waterloo (Waterloo) researchers came up with a prototype automaton that optimizes wall painting by reducing human participation to a minimum. (Related: Rise of the robots: 8 professions that will be taken over by AI technology.)
Maverick robot paints faster and better than human professionals
Their Maverick robot painter is a compact machine that is directed by mapping technology. It will scan the room that needs a fresh coat or two of paint. Once armed with a map of the location, the mobile platform can maneuver around furniture and other obstacles.
The robot has a mechanical neck that moves up and down like an elevator. The paint sprayer mounted on its arm will apply the right amount of material on the designated spots while avoiding things that do not need a new coat of paint.
It is not yet good enough to avoid upholstery or windows, though; those need to be covered in tape or tarp before the robot painter can be unleashed upon a room.
Despite its flaws, Maverick will reportedly work faster than professional house painters. It can apply several even layers on a wall in the time it takes you to reach the hardware store to buy a bucket of paint.
The robot never tires or feels the strain of performing the same motion over and over again. It also has no vulnerable eyes or nose to protect against acrid fumes or wayward splatters of paint.
Painting robot now has algorithms to judge the quality of its own paint job
The MIST team promises that Maverick will be able to perform even more paint-related jobs in the future. In an interview, they relayed their intentions to add a camera behind Maverick’s paint sprayer in the future.
Once installed, the camera will serve as the electronic eyes of the robot. Maverick will be able to see what its sprayer is aimed at. Image processing will allow it to tell things apart, while logic trains will let it decide whether or not it should start spraying.
The Waterloo researchers said they have already added the necessary logic lines to the robot’s programming. They even added an algorithm that lets Maverick judge the quality of its own paint job.
Right now, Maverick can only reach up to the waist of a human being. But a bigger version of this painting robot would be able to reach places a human needs a ladder for.
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