Ars Electronica Futurelab
Spaxels Win Media Architecture Award in Sydney
(Linz, June 9, 2016) At the 2016 Media Architecture Biennale that was just held in Sydney, Australia, the Spaxels, Ars Electronica Futurelab’s autonomous drone swarm, were honored with a Media Architecture Award in the Future Trends and Prototypes category. “Of course we’re delighted that our concept of a dynamic three-dimensional aerial display has been singled out for honors here,” said Ars Electronica Futurelab Senior Director Horst Hörtner. The Media Architecture Awards are bestowed upon outstanding projects at the nexus of architecture, media and interaction design.
About the 2016 Media Architecture Biennale 2016
The Media Architecture Biennale included a conference, a series of exhibitions, symposia, workshops and an award ceremony. It provided a forum for exchanging ideas and outlining the media architecture of the future – from media facades to projection mapping, urban screens to localised media interventions in cities.
The Spaxels: From Pilot Project in Linz to World Record with Intel
Since the summer of 2012, an Ars Electronica Futurelab crew has been working on how to put aloft a large group of LED-studded quadcopters that autonomously execute preprogrammed formations. In September 2012 at the Linzer Klangwolke, a multimedia extravaganza spanning the Danube, a group of 50 illuminated drones ascended and formed a huge eye in the night sky. This one-of-a-kind performance created a worldwide sensation, and it wasn’t long before the first prominent client came calling. In conjunction with the promotional campaign preceding the premiere of “Star Trek – Into Darkness,” Paramount booked the Linz-based drone swarm to perform its aerial artistry immediately adjacent to London’s high-profile landmark, the Tower Bridge. By this point at the very latest, the Spaxels Project had taken off. There followed airborne performances in Bergen (Norway), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Brisbane (Australia), Umea (Sweden), Sharjah (United Arab Emirates), Hannover (Germany), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Linz (Austria). And on November 4, 2015, the big day had finally arrived: a squadron of 100 drones capable of completely autonomous flight took off in Tornesch, Germany before the eyes of a Guinness World Record staff auditor. When all was said and done, it was official—the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Intel had established a world record in the category Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Airborne Simultaneously.