Flying Drones Deliver 3D Printed Personal Portraits To Burning Man Attendees

Flying Drones Deliver 3D Printed Personal Portraits To Burning Man Attendees

Using GPS tracking, festival-goers can get tiny statues of themselves delivered via anaerial robot.

Allie Walker
  • 21 august 2012

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… multi-copter unmanned aerial vehicle? When attendees at this year’s Burning Man look up at the sky, they might see a drone hovering over head, ready to drop them a customized, unique souvenir- a 3D printed statue of themselves. The drones won’t randomly track and target festival goers, it’s all part of an interactive art experience by ReAllocate called Project: Blue Sky.

Before looking up to see a UAV, festival-goers will have previously visited ReAllocate’s ‘dome’ to complete the first part of the art experience. At the dome, visitors can interact with a photo booth fitted with Kinect cameras, where with 3D software, their photos will be turned into 3D models. Instead of waiting for the models, attendees can leave the dome with a GPS transponder, free to enjoy other aspects of the festival.

When the statues have finished printing, staff at ReAllocate will load a container hanging from the UAV with the statue and send the drone off for delivery. The drones will locate their individual ‘targets’ with the help of GPS– the person’s GPS transponder will start buzzing and glowing when the drone is above them. The drone will then drop the 3D printed statue, and the recipient can return the transponder to ReAllocate.

Although an interesting art project, Project: Blue Sky is a launching pad for ReAllocate’s greater large-scale entrepreneurship program, StartUp Country.  The ‘dome’ at Burning Man, which is made of recycled/retro-fitted shipping containers, will travel to economically depressed areas around America in an effort to provide resources and mentoring to local entrepreneurs. Together with experts from ReAllocate’s team of designers, innovators, technologists, and engineers,  the shipping containers will serve as an innovation hub for launching sustainable businesses during a 10 week stay in each community. According to Fast Company, the shipping container will travel first to Oakland to serve as a portable kitchen. Dr. Mike North, the founder of ReAllocate, speaks to the scope of the StartUp Country project in a recent press release:

By bringing together people, curriculum, machinery, and materials, we are fostering social entrepreneurship, innovation and capacity building as local entrepreneurs are coupled with panels of highly skilled volunteer experts.

Watch a video about Project: Blue Sky below:

ReAllocate Project: Blue Sky


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