Ai-Da, the Robot to Sketch and Paint People’s Faces


Could robots get creative? British gallery owner Aidan Meller has hopes of answering this question with Ai-Da, who said that she will be able to draw people from sight with the help of a pencil in her bionic hand. Meller has seen the final stages of her construction with the help of engineers at Cornwall-based Engineered Arts.

He has named her Ai-Da, which is a name after the British mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, who was the world’s first AI ultra-realistic robot artist, and his ambition is that she should be able to perform like her human counterparts.

After observing Ai-Da’s prosthetic head being brought to life by specialists who were individually attaching hairs to form her eyebrows, Meller said- “She is actually going to draw and we hope to further build a technology with which she could paint. But as a performance artist, she will also be able to engage with the audiences and get messages across; asking these questions about technology today.


Her skeletal robotic head could look disembodied on a workbench, but her movements seem very much alive.

There are cameras in each of her eyeballs which are useful in recognising human features, she also makes eye contacts and can follow you all around, opens and closes her mouth. If someone gets too close to her, she backs off, blinking as if she is in utter shock.

Ai-Da’s makers have mentioned that she will have a “RoboThespian” body which will show expressive movements which will have the ability to talk as well as answer questions.

Marcus Hold, the Design & Production Engineer at Engineered Arts said- “There is AI (artificial intelligence) which runs in the computer vision which has allowed the robot to track faces which will help recognise the facial features as well as mimic your expression.

Ai-Da’s makers have used “Mesmer” life-like robot technology for Ai-Da’s head, and once it is over, she will look like a person from mixed-race, with long dark hair, silicone skin and 3D printed teeth and gums.

Ai-Da will be presented during her inaugural exhibition “Unsecured Futures” in the month of May in the University of Oxford, and her sketches will be up on display in London in the month of November.

Punna Lavanya

About the author: Punna Lavanya

A late bloomer but an early learner, Lavanya likes to be honestly biased. Though fascinated by the far-flung corners of the galaxy, she doesn’t fancy the idea of humans moving to Mars. Francisca is a Contributing Author for Newstrail. Be it mobile devices, laptops, etc. he brings his passion for technology wherever she goes. Email:

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