Drawing with a Third Hand: Robotic Art

Artists, engineers, and tech lovers are currently enjoying a renaissance in technology hacks and innovations. In recent years, the DIY maker movement diverged into maker culture, which specifically focuses on open-hardware technology, including desktop 3D printers — and now, robotic plotting machines designed for 2D art and “hand” lettering.

The AxiDraw, developed in the homebrewed lab of Evil Mad Scientist, resembles a 3D printer in many ways, except for the lack of a tall (horizontal) Z-axis. Able to hold any pen, marker, or pencil (even at angles suited for fountain pens), the AxiDraw transfers digital drawings and fonts (powered by open-source software) onto flat surfaces for innovative 2D drawings tempered by the precision of technology.

With sophisticated printers available on the market, both 2D and 3D alike, one may question the relevance of a machine that essentially mimics handwriting and hand drawing — but we think otherwise! Maker movement technology like the AxiDraw allows us to honor a tradition of design, while pushing the boundaries in brand new ways.

Similarly, Bond, a robotic handwriting service, is making headlines across industries — suggesting a future where technology brings people closer together and not further apart. There is a reason why the maker movement happened in the first place: designers and tinkerers are always looking to reinvent things, but contrary to popular belief, not at a cost to tradition.

As evident across art and technology, looking towards the future is an exercise in nodding at the past. In other words, innovation and tradition run parallel with one another — and sometimes in those magical moments, hand in hand.

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Adcetera is a 35-year-old, Houston-based advertising agency made up of the most strategic, most creative people on the planet. Our nearly 90-member team of designers, writers, programmers, animators, strategists, and account service people work like dogs to create memorable content for brands around the world.

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