Drones

Swarms of graffiti drones to be unleashed on blank walls

Swarms of graffiti drones to b...
These app-controlled graffiti drones are designed to add color to the many bare walls across cities
These app-controlled graffiti drones are designed to add color to the many bare walls across cities
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These app-controlled graffiti drones are designed to add color to the many bare walls across cities
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These app-controlled graffiti drones are designed to add color to the many bare walls across cities
A diagram of the graffiti drones
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A diagram of the graffiti drones
Swarms of drones flying in formation will paint giant murals on bare walls
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Swarms of drones flying in formation will paint giant murals on bare walls
The initial demonstrations will occur on scaffolded construction sites with the drones set to fly behind safety nets
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The initial demonstrations will occur on scaffolded construction sites with the drones set to fly behind safety nets
The Vertical Plotter system in 2015 was like a giant printer head attached to a wall
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The Vertical Plotter system in 2015 was like a giant printer head attached to a wall

Artists and vandals have been attaching spray-paint cans to drones with varying degrees of success for several years now. These imprecise paint blasts deployed by quadcopters have generally resulted in not much more than messy spatter art or juvenile graffiti tags, but what if whole swarms of drones could be controlled in a coordinated way to paint colorful designs on the many bare construction facades that fill our cities?

Innovative architecture and design firm Carlo Ratti Associati has recently unveiled Paint By Drone, a portable system that harnesses an array of one-meter wide quadcopters, each loaded with a spray-paint tank able to create CMYK-colored designs. The drones are controlled by a central management system that monitors their positions in real-time.

Two installations are planned for later in 2017 to launch the system, one in Berlin, Germany and the other in Turin, Italy. These initial demonstrations will have the drones paint on scaffold sheeting in construction sites with the content delivered digitally through an app.

Swarms of drones flying in formation will paint giant murals on bare walls
Swarms of drones flying in formation will paint giant murals on bare walls

Both demonstrations will attempt a form of open-source collaborative design with everyday spectators being able to pick a spot on the wall to color in themselves, or use the app to draw their own design. Professor Carlo Ratti dubs the process "phygital graffiti".

"Any facade can become a space where to showcase, new forms of open-source, collaborative art or to visualize the heartbeat of a metropolis through real time data," said Ratti.

The initial demonstrations will occur on scaffolded construction sites with the drones set to fly behind safety nets
The initial demonstrations will occur on scaffolded construction sites with the drones set to fly behind safety nets

This drone painting system is the latest in a long line of compelling design projects from Carlo Ratti Associati that cleverly integrate technology into unique design outcomes. Last year the firm completely redesigned our food stores with their Supermarket of the Future, and before that we saw the Makr Shakr, a robotic bartender that can mix a ridiculous amount of different drink combinations.

The Vertical Plotter system in 2015 was like a giant printer head attached to a wall
The Vertical Plotter system in 2015 was like a giant printer head attached to a wall

The Paint By Drone system is an evolution of the firm's 2015 Vertical Plotter device which allowed images or notes to be printed onto large walls. The Vertical Plotter was a little like a giant inkjet printer head that could sit over a wall but the newer drone system offers a more portable way to create colorful murals without the expansive set up time of the earlier device.

Source: Carlo Ratti Associati

2 comments
ljaques
I am disgusted by the concept of this. For a company to lend legitimacy to this known form of vandalism is just sickening. There is no "art" to rattle-can-spray-painting crap onto walls. I hope the Carabinieri come after them.
christopher
Nice one. Graffiti is much more exciting to look at than the tasteless blank urban-sprawl facades it covers.