A New Kind of Art [Based on Autonomous Collective Robotics]


  • Leonel Moura
  • Henrique Garcia Pereira




The paper addresses the rationale of a process that produces artworks made by a swarm of robots. This process relies on the interaction, though the environment, of a set of robots designed to create spatiotemporal patterns from an initial homogeneous medium (the canvas). Inspired by social insect societies, the approach presented here exploits robot-robot and robot-environment interactions to develop emergent behaviour. The swarm intelligence concept is crucial to this approach because the viability of the team (group of robots) is required in order to achieve the viability of the individual. Without any central coordination or plan, the group of robots produces its artworks on the basis of a data-driven (bottom-up) process. Moreover, each robot can be viewed as an autonomous agent because it has on board all the resources required to provide the global outcome of the experiment, including sensors, actuators, and the controller, which demonstrates a reactive behaviour by reinforcing a previously made signal (positive feedback). The process is also presented in the context of Machine Art, and a detailed technical description of each robot is given, as well as an example of artworks produced by the collective behaviour of the set of robots.

Author Biographies

Leonel Moura

Leonel Moura is an artist working in field of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. One of his robots is on permanent display in the American Museum of Natural History, New York. He has created several Art Robots and a Robotarium: a kind of zoo for robots.

Henrique Garcia Pereira

Henrique Garcia Pereira is full professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon. His topics of research include Applied Statistics, Environmetrics and Epistemology. He has written over one hundred scientific papers and seven books.