Move over Picasso, watching this robot paint a car is mesmerizing

I come across “neat tricks” performed by industrial robots all the time, and many of them are about as interesting as watching paint dry. ABB Robotics’ newest trick is literally that, and somehow it is mesmerizing beyond words. The industry giant released a video of its robot painting an art car. It’s a flex for the precision and flexibility of its robotics products, of course, but just look at it, it’s extraordinary.

For this PR stunt, the company collaborated with eight-year-old Indian child prodigy Advait Kolarkar and Dubai-based digital design collective Illusorr, to create the world’s first robot-painted art car. The project is showing off the company’s PixelPaint technology, which is basically an inkjet printer with 1,000 nozzles mounted on an industrial robot.

There’s a lot of marketing-speak mumbo jumbo attached with this, and I could write about it, but I’m just not gonna. Instead, watch this mini documentary the company produced. It’s three minutes well spent.

ABB’s ultimate pitch is for PixelPaint to make manufacturing more sustainable, removing the need for masking materials and extra ventilation, which in turn, the company suggests, lowers emissions while saving water and energy. The paint head tracks very closely to the vehicle, ensuring that all the paint goes on the actual car, rather than spraying all over the place. Different paint colors are applied quickly, and the item being painted only runs through the paint shop once. ABB claims that this can halve the production time and reduce costs by up to 60%.