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Pioneering Robot Spikelangelo Acts as a Pediatric Art Therapist at Cook Children’s Medical Center

ST Robotics proudly announces that one of its robots has been developed by artist and roboticist Pindar Van Arman and Cook Children's Medical Center for the groundbreaking application of helping youngsters with epilepsy heal and recover through the creation of art.

The robot, named Spikelangelo, is the brainchild of Van Arman and M. Scott Perry, M.D., Co-Director, Cook Children's Jane and John Justin Neurosciences Center, which aims to foster the creativity and capabilities of people with neurological disorders.

Dr. Perry comments, "The pioneering robot Spikelangelo acts as a pediatric art therapist and creates a whole new level of discovery, care and recovery benefits for our patients. Our hope is that this robot will help develop the creativity that resides in all of us, regardless of physical abilities."

The ST R17 HS robot, mounted with a camera on its arm and a paintbrush in its gripper, is programmed with Van Arman's more than two dozen unique A.I. algorithms. The patient connects to the robot through a tablet computer which acts as the canvas onto which the artist/patient can paint a custom or chosen design with their finger or an electronic pen. Spikelangelo will be housed on the hospital's main floor for guests to observe.

Spikelangelo provides additional "hands" to assist children with projects, especially when this not-for-profit pediatric hospital has limited human resources. Furthermore, many of the patients are unable to leave their rooms for group art projects, but now via Spikelangelo, multiple children across the medical center can work together virtually on a project, each contributing their own creativity.

Spikelangelo is the second robot Van Arman has purchased from ST Robotics. The first robot, named, was created by Van Arman to be a studio assistant that helped him increase artistic productivity with simple painting tasks such as connecting dots and painting by numbers. Over the years however, Van Arman ended up teaching the robot his entire artistic painting process by adding complex A.I. techniques ranging from simple k-means clustering to the more complicated deep learning techniques including convolution neural networks (CNNs) and generative adversarial nets (GANS). The robot's computational creativity enabled it to analyze its marks and make independent aesthetic decisions. The result was that, autonomously made a painting that evolved from a blank canvas into a completed portrait.

"I developed the ST robots into much more than simple assistants. My robots are now effectively augmenting my own creativity", says AI artist Pindar Van Arman.

Pindar hopes that children in hospitals will soon be able to remotely have paint their portrait to help train the robot and give it practice on creating more emotive art.

Sotheby's is offering Van Arman's first work using quantum computers (Quantum Skull), the first piece of this type that has ever been created. The piece has two parts: a physical painting and a time-based NFT. For each, Van Arman worked with fellow artist Russell Huffman to procedurally generate an image set from measurements made on an actual quantum computer. The images themselves reference Van Arman's childhood memories of endless hours playing video games as well as references to his award winning AI Imagined Faces series, bitGANs, and CryptoPunks. Tapping into the properties of quantum noise (unchecked randomness) and quantum superposition (where objects are in more than one position at same time until a final observation takes place), these images were combined in fascinating ways and fed into the AI of his robotic system.


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