Innovation That Matters

Drone painting system creates crowdsourced public murals


Italian design company Carlo Ratti Associati has designed a method for painting large-scale features with quadcopter drones and a publicly available app.

Taking advantage of almost any city’s array of blank walls surrounding construction projects is Italian innovation and design company Carlo Ratti Associati’s Paint By Drone system. Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that carry one spray paint can each, the system is controlled by either a central operator or via input from the accompanying app. Envisioning large scale, crowdsourced graffiti projects, the company’s first two murals will be in Berlin, Germany and Turin, Italy.

The drones are one meter wide, and all artwork will be painted using the four traditional colors of the printing process – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. The team hopes to complete a variety of projects, many of them crowdsourced. Using the app, participants could choose a portion of a drawing to fill in with their preferred colour or, on an even more participative project, draw their own design. Being able to beautify an urban landscape at a much lower cost than traditional scaffolding projects allow, helps make the Paint By Drone system accessible to a wide range of cities.

Drones are proving useful in a wide variety of projects, particularly healthcare, just as graffiti is becoming more of an acceptable form of public art. How else could technological advances help make something on the periphery of society more accessible to a wider audience?



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