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NTU scientists create robot that paints walls quicker, improves safety

Kareyst Lin | Oct. 31, 2016
PictoBot can operate in the dark, enabling 24-hours continuous painting.

Scientists from the Robotic Research Centre of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a robot that paints industrial buildings faster, safer and with less manpower.

Known as PictoBot, the spray-painting robot was co-developed with JTC Corporation (JTC) and local start-up Aitech Robotics and Automation (Aitech).

Industrial buildings are designed with high ceilings to accommodate bulky industrial equipment and materials. Currently, painting its interiors requires at least two painters using a scissors lift.

In comparison, PictoBot requires only one human supervisor, NTU said in a press statement on 26 October 2016. It can automatically scan its environment using its optical camera and laser scanner to navifate and paint walls up to 10 metres high with its robotic arms.

The PictoBot can work four hours on one battery charge and paint 25 percent faster than a crew of two painters. It gives walls an even coat of paint that matches industry standards.

Equipped with advanced sensors, PictoBot can also operate in the dark, enabling 24-hours continuous painting.

"Painting large industrial spaces is repetitive, labour intensive and time-consuming, PictoBot can paint while a supervisor focuses on operating," said Professor Chen I-Ming, Director of NTU Robotic Research Centre. "The autonomous behaviour also means that a single operator can handle multiple robots and refill their paint reservoirs."

Pictobot is supported by National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, under its Test-Bedding and Demonstration of Innovative Research funding initiative.


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