You may recall a few months ago, graffiti artist Katsu committed the first recorded act of “drone graffiti.” Using a modified quadcopter, Katsu sprayed red scribbles over a gigantic Kendall Jenner billboard in New York City. The tag itself wasn’t the most impressive, but it started a lot of commotion. Maybe because the graffiti was strategically splattered over the face of a Kardashian. Or maybe because it’s not every day we see spray painting drones buzzing around. I’d like to think it’s the latter.
Now Katsu wants everyone to have the power to spray paint via drone (Kardashian billboards optional). That’s where he got the idea to launch the “world’s first open-source paint drone,” aka Icarus One.
The Icarus One website is basically a step-by-step guide to building your own graffiti drone, including a hefty shopping list of all the things you’ll need to do so. Artists will need a bunch of electronics to make the Icarus controller, a steel tomato cage to hold the spray paint can in place, and an actual drone to do the flying. (Katsu’s guide is built for the DJI Phantom 2, which costs around $500.)
Creating a final product wouldn’t exactly be easy (or cheap). You’d need to 3D-print some of your own parts, but the site also offers an option to buy one pre-made.
However, controlled paintwork isn’t something Icarus is capable of right now. Katsu says this is only the beginning for the project and plans to develop a second version of the drone (named Icarus Two) that will use computer vision to let artists draw their tag on an iPad before the drone executes it automatically.
Controlled or not, artists can still create some pretty amazing paintings (watch Katsu use his drone to paint a “dronescape” in Coney Island). And the thought of sitting on a rooftop at night while your drone tags the building across might just bring out the inner daredevil in all of us.