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Digital Futures Drone Arena – watch the spectacular Drone Challenges video

In a groundbreaking display of innovation and creativity, the Digital Futures-funded project Drone Arena recently released a video of the Drone Challenges. The events, held in June 2022 and May 2023 at KTH’s Reactor Hall in Stockholm, Sweden, showcased the mesmerizing capabilities of aerial drone technology.

The 2023 challenge focused on pushing the boundaries of drone movements in visually stunning and thought-provoking ways, all achieved without any code written by the participating teams. The Drone Arena is a unique interactive platform fostering discussions on the role and impact of mobile robotics, autonomous systems, machine learning, and human-computer interaction.

With its distinctive logo representing a novel aerial drone testbed, the Drone Arena hosts periodic competitions that delve into the evolving relationships between humans and drones. It is a lasting foundation for testing technical advances, studying design principles, and envisioning new interactions between humans and robots.

– Addressing the need for practical experimentation with application-level functionality, the Digital Futures Drone Arena offers an easily programmable drone testbed. This fills a crucial gap, allowing researchers and enthusiasts to explore novel drone applications and the relationship between humans and drones, explains Luca Mottola, Senior Researcher at RISE and the other Co-PI of Drone Arena.

– The project adopts a unique approach by incorporating the concept of ‘soma,’ emphasizing the lived and felt body’s role in interacting with technology. As a critique of traditional technology design and use, the concept of soma esthetics encourages a reevaluation of how we control and move around drones, highlighting the ethical implications of technology on human movement and practices, continues Airi Lampinen, Associate Professor at Stockholm University and Co-PI of Drone Arena.

The Drone Arena project is a collaborative effort involving researchers from the Connected Intelligence Unit at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University, and the Division of Media Technology and Interaction Design at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, creating a cross-disciplinary synergy that propels the exploration of cutting-edge technology and its impact on society.

The video was created by Joseph La Delfa.