Space Ink

What if we can draw in any space with a pen?

Space Ink combines Wacom’s pen and tablet technology with drones controlled by Ars Electronica Futurelab’s SwarmOS to envision a future where we can draw in any space with a pen. Space Ink is part of the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s Future Ink research, conducted between 2020 and 2022.

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Wacom YouTube | Published by client Wacom | Journey to Future Ink

Phase 1

Space Brush

The first step of the Space Ink research in 2020 was Space Brush. The brush strokes created on the tablet by the artist are translated into three-dimensional movements of the drone. The LEDs on the drone create a light painting, visualized by the projector in the studio. In the second step, Expressive Brush, we expand the expression of artists and drones with additional ink and drone parameters that capture the soul of artistic expressions, allowing mutual inspiration between drones and humans. In the third step, Collaborative Brush, we explore the possibility of multiple drones and human collaboration, as the base research for swarm expressions in the future. The Space Ink research opens the door to new creative expressions in the Future Ink Project.

Phase 2

Space Paint

With the Space Paint drones, the Space Ink research project opened a new chapter in the future of art in 2021. In this research, artists can control drones that carry a brush and paint across a large space using a digital pen tablet. This is realized by combining Wacom’s pen tablet technology and the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s SwarmOS control software that the Futurelab team has been optimizing for many years. A state-of-the-art tracking system that captures the entire space along with the drone’s coordinates is another important component of the complex setup: the drone can thus be tracked and controlled in real-time. The drone also reacts to the movement of another artist in its surrounding. The research explores the next era of paintings and murals supported by innovative technology – a creative collaboration between humans and machines. Can humans and machines interact, inspire, and collaborate as equal partners?

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Inside Futurelab: Space Ink – Brush Drones

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Related Projects

Immerse yourself in our work

Interested in similar projects? The following Ars Electronica Futurelab projects are related to the ideas and concepts presented here. An overview of all our productions, cooperations and projects can be found in our project archive.