This Is Not A Masterpiece (TIAM) was developed as a project that combines the fields of robotics and modern art. The project takes an innovative approach to the creation of art by conceptually questioning human agency in the creation of a “non-masterpiece”. The semi-autonomous robot at the heart of our project is able to change direction in response to environmental obstacles, creating an element of surprise and imbuing each piece with an erratic quality that confronts standard notions of artistry. The robot is controlled through dual proximity sensors that can be used by a single driver or two drivers in tandem. Another user is responsible for the two knobs that raise or lower the pens affixed to the robots rear. Together the users and the robot collaborate to produce a “non-masterpiece”, but more importantly the experience is playful and is above all an enjoyable undertaking.

Interface and interaction modality

TIAM is a physical robot with a remote control interface that allows users to control the direction and speed of the robot as well as the pens affixed to the robots rear. The control panel consists of two knobs and two proximity sensors. Users can turn two knobs that either lower or raise the black and gold pen, or move their hand closer or farther away from two proximity sensors to control the speed of the left and right wheel.


Both the robot and the control use Arduino Wi-Fi MKR boards and attached sensors to control the robot’s movements. The code was written using the online Arduino code compiler and is based upon C++.

Research and development context

TIAM has the potential to be further developed as an example of creative, collaborative art. Increasing the number of sensors and differentiating between them would open up the potential for interesting collaborative pieces using TIAM.