Estonian app uses custom spray paint nozzle and smartphone camera to recreate images on any surface.
TALLINN, ESTONIA (NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) – By joining parts from a gaming console and car engine with a smart phone app, an Estonian inventor created a painting tool that allows the user to reproduce digital images on any surface.
Richard Murutar, who named his invention SprayPrinter, started off by trying to paint a life-sized unicorn on his daughter’s bedroom wall, and after discovering his artistic skills leave a lot to wish for, he reached for a combination of hardware and software to create the free-style spray paint printer.
“Technically what we have done is, your smartphone sends the image that you want to print to the printer one layer at the time. Each layer has its own regions where it has to paint. The printer itself has the image, the smartphone sends the coordinates to the printer, and the printer decides whether to execute paint or not,” Murutar said, while behind him an artist used water-based spray paints to print, line by line, a two by two meter (6.56ft by 6.56ft) sized reproduction of Leonardo de Vinci’s self portrait on a wall at Tallinn’s Lennart Meri airport.
SprayPrinter’s technology consists of a wireless Bluetooth attachment that fits over a standard spray paint can and controls the flow of paint from the spray nozzle with a back facing LED light that tells the connected mobile device where exactly the paint head is located on the painted surface. The connected mobile device is mounted on a tripod facing the surface and ensures that layers of paint are sprayed only in the right places.
This free-style printer system makes it possible to reproduce images and designs with spray paints of different colours – both indoors or outdoors and on large or small surfaces.
Besides walls, users have already painted designs on vehicles, surf boards and furniture. In the near future they plan to paint a 10 by 10 meter (32 ft by 32 ft) sized wall with Albert Einstein’s portrait in the Estonian city Tartu.
The developers of the mobile device say this technology does not undermine creativity and will not take away work from artists, because it only uses artwork that has already been created by someone else.
“When we first started this project I was mostly intrigued by the fact that my completely talentless hand can actually execute some beautiful design to a wall. Today I have done it, I have actually drawn some very beautiful images with SprayPrinter and I still cannot draw at all. So, this gives people a new power, power to express themselves,” Murutar said.
SprayPrinter’s developers say that in future this technology could change rules of house decoration and it could become a common DIY tool as much as an electric drill.
The company holding global provisional patterns to the technology is currently in a new funding round to start production.
The developers say the price of SprayPrinter kit could reach around 200 euros ($218.12), but a can of water-base spray paint for indoor use would cost between 5 and 10 euro ($5.45-$10.91) with around 52 different colours available.