Human Artists And Drones Draw Collaboratively

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Human Artists And Drones Draw Collaboratively

Pushing the envelope of technology is something that happens daily at MIT, so it should come as no surprise when some very unique drone based projects emerge. The Flying Phantograph, a new project from the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, is a great example. The Flying Phantograph let’s humans and drones collaboratively draw.

MIT might not technically be an art school, but for machines it could be the best kunstakademie in the world. The Flying Phantograph, a new project from the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, explores the creative potential of drones as collaborators with human artists, effectively teaching these machines to art.

Created by Sang-won Leigh, Harshit Agrawal, and Pattie Maes, the Flying Phantograph processes input from human artists, who make drawing movements with a controller. The drone then adds its own aesthetic to final drawing, creating a collaborative piece.

Is This Drone the Next Cy Twombly?

One thing that is true about technology is, from time to time, it will fail. When it fails, it fails indiscriminately; you could be a member of MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group or Bill Gates, it doesn’t matter. You have to love the bravery shown when an engineering team is willing to share their “fail” moments. Check out this video of The Flying Phantograph at what could be called “not it’s finest hour.”

a screaming pantograph

a burn-out happened to our machine during an exhibition at TEI 2016.

a screaming pantograph

The actual drone being used is a DJI Phantom, which has quickly become the gold standard in consumer drones. At Drone Universities, we recognize the quality of DJI products. That is why all of our Introduction to Drones students receive a free DJI Phantom.

MIT Logo

MIT Logo

About the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. Researchers worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. The current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.

MIT, with five schools and one college which contain a total of 32 departments, is often cited as among the world’s top universities. The Institute is traditionally known for its research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, and more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, and management as well. The “Engineers” sponsor 31 sports, most teams of which compete in the NCAA Division III’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC.

By |2017-08-31T15:23:44+00:00March 23rd, 2016|Drone Technology, Drones, Interesting|Comments Off on Human Artists And Drones Draw Collaboratively

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About the Author:

Sam Estrin
I'm an avid drone enthusiast and part-time drone blogger living outside of the DC area. I track drone news and write editorials and timely drone news stories that I find interesting. If you like my stories, you can follow me on Twitter or visit me at LinkedIn. If you'd like me to write for your drone oriented publication or blog, you can contact me at