smart atoms spaxels by ars electronica draw 3D images in the night sky
image courtesy of gregor hartl fotografie and ars electronica




the ‘smart atoms’ spaxels version, developed by ars electronica futurelab, use these space pixels to fly in precise formation in order to draw three-dimensional objects in midair. the LED-equipped quadcopters fly as interlinked blocks so that it is possible to not only form visual likenesses but also to generate images with material-virtual characteristics. the ‘smart atoms’ were presented during the 2014 festival arc electronica at the future playground


spaxels quadcopter swarm lightpainting
videos courtesy of ars electronica




‘smart atoms deals with the question of where the limits of human perception are located. in concrete terms: what type of swarm behavior by these quadcopters causes spectators to perceive the swarm as a single entity, as an object. where exactly is the perceptual dividing line between “I’m interacting with many individual objects” and “I’m interacting with an object consisting of numerous parts”? and which interaction strategies and metaphors emerge from this?’ said horst hörtner, directer or ars electronica futurelab.


futurelab’s smart atoms


image courtesy of christopher sonnleitner


after the opening of the ‘project genesis”‘exhibition
images courtesy of tom mesic


the display over the danube
image courtesy of gregor hartl fotografie


spaxels is the combination of space and pixels
image courtesy of gregor hartl fotografie


images courtesy of ars alectronica


software is used to plan the quadcopters’ formation
image courtesy of tom mesic