This Father Used Science & Technology To Paint A Unicorn For His Daughter

by | Dec 15, 2016 | Cool Stuff

Mihkel Joala had a problem. He didn’t know how to draw, and his daughter wanted a beautiful picture of a pink unicorn on her wall. Not everyone has an inner Pablo Picasso, so Mihkel had to turn to his inner Thomas Edison and invent a solution. He used a Wii controller and a car engine valve to build something that had the power to fix his problem.

That’s how SprayPrinter was born.

You read that right. A spray printer. Users can download a mobile app and select an image they’d like to print. The SprayPrinter can then be attached to an aerosol spray can. Users can use their smartphone to connect with the spray printer, the user starts spraying… and the SprayPrinter handles the rest. Before long, the user will have their very own spray painted masterpiece.


You’ve seen this type of artwork before, whether you realize it or not. The painting technique, known in the art world as pointillism, has been around since 1880s, and stemmed from the Impressionist movement. Famous painters like Vincent Van Gogh and Georges-Pierre Seurat embraced pointillism in many of their works.

Not an art junkie? For those of you who don’t know much about Van Gogh, but still feel like those little dots look familiar, it could be because they also make an appearance in newspapers and comic books. Around the same time that pointillism was born in the art world, halftone was busy gaining steam in the print world. Since then, the idea of printing using dots has been widespread, though styles vary greatly:

STEAM Education leads to creative and scientific inventions!


SprayPrinter is the first contraption of its kind. While the technology behind SprayPrinter is amazing, the team at StratoStar was most impacted by this creation because pieces like this are a great reason the STEM education movement is turning into the STEAM education movement. So many people consider art and creativity to be separate from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics… but inventions like the SprayPainter reveal that there is more to STEM than meets the eye.

Creations like the SprayPrinter can teach us two important lessons:

  1. It takes creativity to come up with meaningful solutions to problems. No matter what field you are in, this will always be true. While many people don’t seem to associate creativity with things like science, creations like the SprayPrinter prove that creativity is an essential element to new inventions and technological breakthroughs.
  2. Art and science complement one another. Great historical figures like Leonardo Da Vinci first modeled it, and inventions like SprayPrinter continue to provide evidence that art and science go hand-in-hand. New art forms come about thanks to technological breakthroughs, giving artists new ways to express themselves.

Thanks to STEAM, Mikhel Joala’s daughter has a pink unicorn on her wall.


Are you looking for a way to embrace STEAM education? A weather balloon project from StratoStar could be the perfect solution for your school. Take a minute and try a virtual weather balloon launch to see how it works.