The Disney PaintCopter painting on a flat surface. Photo courtesy of Disney Research.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a... Disney graffiti drone tagging walls?
It sounds like something out of Banksy’s nightmarish Dismaland, but the Mouse House has in fact developed a device it calls the PaintCopter that can apply specific designs to both flat and three dimensional surfaces. But Shepard Fairey can sleep easy, for now: the drone, designed by Disney Research, is not going to be stenciling OBEY on street corners anytime soon. Its purpose is more practical: to assist in maintenance work.
PaintCopter has paint pumped through tubes and uses cameras to detect what it is looking at, which could eliminate the need for dangerous scaffolding and ladders during large-scale painting projects. However, there is some bad news for Epcot fans hoping to take in the work of the Jean-Michel Basquiat of the sky: Disney has no plans to use the drone at its theme parks.
The Disney PaintCopter painting on a sculptural surface. Photo courtesy of Disney Research.