Robots for Art Restoration

The ancient city of Pompei was destroyed — and yet preserved– by a volcano in the year 79 AD. Now, nearly 2,000 years later, robots have been helping the work of reconstructing the city.

One of the impressive uses of robotics and AI has been in  art restoration. Specifically, robots have been using artificial intelligence to bring thousands of tiny fragments of frescoes together into complete murals. Project RePAIR uses robots with humanoid arms, sophisticated cameras, and digital recognition software.

We wrote about this project several months ago, when it was in the planning stages. Now we’ve seen an update on the project which shows that the technology is working.

Robots to the rescue!

If you’ve ever put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, you know that this can be challenging. The puzzles have been designed so that they can be put together, though, and the shattered frescoes of Pompei are just thousands of tiny fragments in random piles.

It’s essentially impossible for human beings to reconstruct the pictures. This was true even with existing automation options. Nothing off the shelf could do the job.

With the help of the RePAIR project, though, software and hardware have been developed that make it possible for robots to find and identify the fragments and even to put them together with their soft robotic arms.

The project began with a 2020 grant from the European Union, and it is currently helping to recreate the broken frescoes of the House of the Chaste Lovers.

RePAIR stands for Reconstructing the Past: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. You can check out the code at Github.

Motion control matters

Like so many of the great projects that Rexroth has supported, RePAIR relies on motion control. We specialize in Rexroth motion control, which we believe is the best on the planet. When you need service or support for your motion control systems, call (479) 422-0390 for immediate assistance.

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