With an interest in connecting industrial automation with historical geology, Czech artist Prokop Bartonícek and German artist Benjamin Maus collaborated to create Jller, an incredible kinetic machine that easily sorts random stones from a specific river by their geological age using pre-defined data ranges to guide the process.
The machine also emits a very soothing incidental music as it goes about sorting, categorizing, selecting and placing the stones. Jller was presented as part of the Ignorance exhibition in Ex Post in Prague.
The machine works with a computer vision system that processes the images of the stones and maps each of its location on the platform throughout the ordering process. The information extracted from each stone are dominant color, color composition, and histograms of structural features such as lines, layers, patterns, grain, and surface texture. This data is used to assign the stones into predefined categories. Those categories represent the range of stones that can be found in the specific river and correspond directly to the age of the stone. They are the result of a classification system that is trained by sets of manually selected and labeled stones. Because there are only a limited number of stone types that can be found in a specific river, this system proves to be very accurate. The stones get picked up by an industrial vacuum gripper, which can rotate around its own axis. This way the pebbles can also be aligned.