Researchers from ITMO’s Faculty of Infocommunication Technologies are the first to launch NFT (non-fungible tokens) for the creations of the Gaka-Chu robot artist. The robot’s pictures are already in demand – there are buyers willing to purchase tokens for the equivalent of $1,600 in Ethereum. Gaka-Chu will spend his earnings on new paints, brushes, and canvas.
Developed at ITMO, Gaka-Chu can paint simple drawings, hieroglyphs, and logos. In order to accomplish this, the robot first receives a pregenerated PNG or JPG picture that is then divided into separate lines by a special algorithm. These lines serve as trajectories for a controller that holds the brush. It takes an average of 15 minutes to create one drawing.
“Since 2017, we have been working on a system that can perform certain activities while maintaining a low number of errors, and we succeeded in significantly improving the algorithm over the past year. Now, Gaka-Chu makes fewer mistakes and is much better at detecting lines. Previously, it could only put several pixels on canvas in one go – and now it can create complete lines, curves, or circles,” says Vadim Manaenko, the head of the project and an engineer at ITMO’s Faculty of Infocommunication Technologies.
Recently, Gaka-Chu has learned to get paid for its creations. Four of its pictures are now NFT tokens on Rarible. The works were put on auction only a week ago and have immediately become very popular with bids ranging from $800 to $1,600 on Ethereum.
At this stage, its creators assist Gaka-Chu in making the tokens. However, in the future, after some technical updates, the robot will be able to perform the task on its own. The developers are now also working on a separate module that will help Gaka-Chu generate its own pictures and not only copy those provided to it. The robot will spend its first salary on honing its artistic skills, as well as on painting supplies.