Scientists have developed a new software that will allow tiny drones to create huge painting and outdoor murals. The drones are outfitted with a miniature arm that holds ink-soaked sponge. The tiny drones have been programmed by Paul Kry from the McGill University in Canada and his students.
The drones create dot drawings an artistic technique known as stippling. Programming the aerial robots to apply each payload of ink accurately and efficiently requires complex algorithms to plan flight paths and adjust for positioning errors, researchers said.
Even very slight air currents can toss the featherweight drones off course.The drones, which are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, are outfitted with a miniature arm that holds a bit of ink-soaked sponge.
As they hover near the surface to be painted, internal sensors and a motion capture system help position them to dab the ink in just the right places.
So far, the flying robots have rendered on paper portraits of Alan Turing, Grace Kelly and Che Guevara, among others. Each drawing is composed of a few hundred to a few thousand black dots of varying sizes.
Eventually, larger drones could be deployed to paint murals on hard-to-reach outdoor surfaces, including curved or irregular facades, Kry said.