MMU Digital Innovation Lab


Drones are an ever-evolving form of technology and have many creative applications and uses. One of the objectives of Project Daedalus is to work with arts organisations through a number of lab events to develop an online toolkit to guide & inform them in their creative productions.

The Manchester Lab event in MMU Digital Innovation had a strong focus on learning what the attendees thought about drones and exploring their ideas for creative uses. Many of the group had prior experience of using drones and varying levels of technical ability which aided them during the flying session!

We started the workshop by showing the group a series of videos of current developments in drone technology including mail delivery services, aerial filming and hobbyist flying. This was to get a sense of what people in the group were familiar with or had heard about in the media and to ascertain what impact the media has on forming public opinion of drones.

To see what types of drones the group were attracted to, we showed them several different drone models and creative applications and asked them to rank each one in order of interest. It was interesting to note that the majority of the group did not like the Fotokite (a drone you can tether to yourself with wire), but everyone really liked the Iris+ – a drone that creates 3D models and uses advanced sensors to follow the subject matter.

The aim of the afternoon session was to give everyone a chance to do some hands on flying with the Bebop Parrot drone (using an iPad to operate it) and several Hubsan X4 drones. Most of the group seemed to be comfortable flying the Bebop drone because of the very intuitive directional controls built into the iPad, but some people struggled to get the hang of the Hubsan nano drones – leading to a number of interesting crashes!

After the flying session we gave everyone in the workshop the task of designing their own drone using LEGO blocks and then discussing their ideas with the rest of the group.

Take a look at this short clip caught on the Hubsan’s inbuilt camera.