Sketchy MIT Drone Draws As It Flies

Meet the Flying Pantograph

With an unblinking eye, the machine studies the artist’s hand. As the human draws, the drone copies, algorithmic insight struggling to replicate lines on paper with whiteboard marker on a wall. Human hands are steady, and the quadcopter, wobbling in air, is not.

Perhaps it is better to think of the drawing drone, the work of the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, as a clumsy cursor, the pen in the human’s hand as a mouse, and the whole affair an awkward exercise in MS Paint. Or, to go back a few hundred years, the device is a pantograph: a machine that that copies a drawing as it’s made, but larger.

The device’s creators named the drawing drone a “Flying Pantograph”, and describe it as such:

The errors, it seems, are an intentional part of the art. Watch it in action below:

Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.