Paint By Drone was a system that was developed by an architecture and design firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) a few years ago. The Paint By Drone system makes use of quadcopters for spray-painting graffiti onto external walls. The said system has been employed for creating a crowdsourced work of art that has been applied on a wall using multiple drones at the same time. The Italian UFO – Urban Flying Opera Project – is what used the Paint By Drone system.
As a part of the Urban Flying Opera project, people were asked to submit ‘their thoughts, hopes and ideas regarding what cities should look like.’ More than 1,000 submissions were made out of which about 100 were selected by CRA the University of Turin, and the Polytechnic University of Turin. These 100 were combined together to form one complete painting.
The finalized painting by Urban Flying Opera project was applied to the wall of a disused automobile manufacturing plant located in the city of Turin’s Aurelio Peccei park using Paint By Drone. Four drones were tasked with the job that worked simultaneously over the course of two days to achieve the goal. A central control system was in charge of passing instructions to the quadcopters as to what it should be doing. A visual monitoring system has also been set up to keep tabs on where the different quadcopters were in relation to one another.
The final result measures 14 by 12 meters and is comprised of three differently applied and distinctive colored layers. The black layer sets the story while the red story represents the Turin’s communities and public spaces. Whereas, the blueish-green layer ‘visually wraps the storytelling’. The final result is claimed to be the very first time that a swarm of drones have been utilized for creating a work of art on a vertical surface.
CRA founder, Professor Carlo Ratti, said, ‘The city is an open canvas, where people can inscribe their stories in many ways. Such processes have always been happening; however, with UFO, we tried to accelerate them, using drone technology to allow for a new use of painting as a means of expression.’ The project received its funding from the cultural development foundation Compagnia di San Paolo. It was ideated and curated by CRA, and it was produced by tech research center Fondazione LINKS in collaboration with Tsuru Robotics.