BitDrones – mini drones that function as flying 3D interactive displays

BitDrones flying 3D interactive display

Recently unveiled at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Charlotte, North Carolina, the BitDrones is system of flying objects with tiny drone, which allow people to interact with virtual 3D objects as in real world scenario.  Developed by Queens University’s Human Media Lab, headed by Roel Vertegaal, BitDrones are interactive quadcopters that act as 3D pixels (voxels) to create flying interactive displays. Vertegaal informs; programmable matter is based on self levitating displays, which allow physical interaction with the virtual objects in mid air.

BitDrones flying 3D interactive display-1

BitDrones is then an interactive swarm of flying 3D objects which are connected to mini-drones. This system permits users to explore virtual 3D information by physically interacting with the self levitating objects (which are levitating because of the miniature drones).

BitDrones is based on three different self-levitating building blocks, these are – PixelDrones, building blocks attached with LED and dot matrix display, DisplayDrones, building blocks embedded with a curved high resolution touchscreen and a camera and ShapeDrones, complex 3D models fitted with 3D printed geometric frame and light-weight mesh.

BitDrones PixelDrone

Despite being different in form, all three types of BitDrones can be individually tracked, programmed and positioned in real time with motion capture. Designed to track user’s hand movement and touch, BitDrones can change their location in mid air with simple hand gestures or even touch.

BitDrones shapedrone

Though, this technique, where you could sit inside a lab and play with self levitating 3D models to arrive at a 3D model for real world may seem a distant reality, but the BitDrones has many possible applications – 3D modeling, robotics and gaming to name a few. BitDrones can be repositioned and manipulated to serve as building blocks for 3D modeling, and they can also be automatically controlled by head movement over a Skype call.

DitDrones DisplayDrones



Bharat writes about latest gadgets, toys, robots and new technologies across various platforms. In addition to reporting and reviewing new products and technologies, he spends too much time digging the internet for endless questions. He's a die-hard football fan and a big foodie who wants to host Man v. Food some day.

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