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Drones Paint Canvas for City Art Project

Friday, July 19, 2019

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A project took flight in Torino, Italy, late last month when a group of drones went to work on a large-scale graffiti project with the aim to beautify the city.

As part of a collaborative project called Urban Flying Opera (UFO), thousands of people contributed designs inspired by the theme “Design the City.”

A team of curators then selected and combined designs and sent out four drones to draw the image.

Tsuru Robotics, which joined the cause in mid-2018, says that it all started with one question: How can we use technology, and in particular drones, to make our cities more beautiful and creative?

“Tsuru Robotics provided full technical support of the project in terms of drones, paint spraying systems, automatic drawing systems. The project also had a partner responsible for the artistic part, Carlo Ratti Associati, and a partner who created a local positioning system, LINKS Foundation,” according to the company.

The painting was divided into two six-hour sessions. First, the drones applied one color (the first layer of the picture), then the second, third and fourth colors, which included light gray, dark gray, turquoise and pink.

The result was open to the public canvas size of 46 by 39 feet. It took 24 cans of spray paint to create the artwork. The total length of the lines drawn by drones was 2,034 feet.

"The city is an open canvas, where people can inscribe their stories in many ways," said professor Carlo Ratti, of MIT's Sensable City Lab and the international design and innovation firm CRA, which curated the project.

"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."


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Drones; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Graffiti; Murals; Spray Paint

Comment from Robert Aird, (7/19/2019, 7:21 AM)

I'm bidding a job that would be perfect for this process - art on a 10-story building. If you want to discuss it, email me -

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