If you were lucky enough to have Paul, the portrait-drawing robot honor you with a portrait, first you may be impressed by the fact that a disembodied arm is drawing a portrait of you, and then you might be unimpressed by the somewhat messy and borderline demented piece of art that is produced. That is until you are told by engineering scientist turned artist Patrick Tresset that it's "working as intended".
So why create a robot that is intentionally lacking precision and grace? Well that's because most humans lack the precision and grace required to draw wonderfully accurate portraits. Tresset told FastCoDesign, "I try to make robotic installations that touch people. I believe that a robot that slightly fails is more interesting, more touching -- it encourages empathy in the viewer."Utilizing cheap servomotors rather than industrial-quality robot parts, Tresset was able to create a machine that incorporates the flaws of human artists. Like any artist, Paul still has room to improve and will do so when future versions are upgraded to be able to see the pictures they are drawing. Although Paul's portraits may be eerily disfigured and creepily demented, they sure look a lot better than the hot mess of lead that would be any portrait I tried to make.