The hand-tracking drawing machine is a new creative tool using a motion sensor(Kinect) with a motorized drawing device. It was created in 2011 by Paul Ferragut in London.

The project was initiated with the release of the Kinect, the revolutionary motion sensor allows to track human gesture in live. Tracking has been mostly used for screen based application so it was a challenge to find physical application for this amazing new tool.
Kinect data can be extracted to study the movements and plot invisible path from gesture.
The project is looking at the process of drawing and the gesture of the painter, thus focusing on the performance of making art as much as the outcome.

Merce Cunningham and John Cage performance

ballet rotoscope by Masashi Sato

Christian Marclay Screenplay

MAthematical curves hidden around us by Masahi Sato


Researches on using the hand tracking technique lead to the making of new device able to translate the gesture by drawing technique.
Different prototypes were made, the last one is using a application made in C++ with openFrameworks, ofxKinect and firmata libraries. Data from the Kinect are collected with openNI2TUIO and sent to the application which is communicating with an Arduino micro-controller activating stepper motors accordingly.
The material cost for the last prototype is around 120$


The machine was exhibited at different events in UK and US, anyone can start to draw after a few seconds. The machine is not accurate and the line is irregular though artist with adaptation can learn to make expressive artworks.The tool could become a art medium in itself.

drawing performance by Maxence Parache.

“A very spectacular Kinect program, the Drawing Machine with the Kinect further expands the ability of artists, architects and designers in finding an alternative way to create and work. With a more refined setting and more accurate controls, this will definitely be the next level for artistic creations.”

Exhibition in Washington DC Week

Exhibition in London Design Museum


Accuarcy and responsivity can be improved. different functions can be added in function of the artist need.

In order to give anyone the possibility to use the device and appropriate it for its own purpose, material list, instructions and the free open-source application could be provided online.
Hopefully individuals with various interest and discipline could use and tweak the device


1- A version of the machine could be made for very-large scale, thereby offering artist an opportunity to draw spontaneously without scale limitation. Drawing performance could be made in a public space using a large wall as a Canvas. (material cost around 500$ – building and coding time 3-4 weeks)

Keith Haring large mural in Pisa

2- A version of the machine including X Y and Z axis positioning. This ultimate machine with 4 or 8 motors would be able to move from one given point x,y,z in a space to another. (material cost around 500$ to 1000$ – building and coding time 5-6 weeks)

This device could be used for exemple as a large-scale 3d printing using foam or for interactive puppets animation performance or for long exposure 3d light painting or to make art like japanese Daiji-sho style Calligraphy…Possibilities for such a machine would be surprising and not limited to interactivity and using Kinect.