Grid-swarming nanocopters, coming soon to a dream/nightmare near you

I, for one, welcome our new cubic overlords:

We present GridDrones, a self-levitating programmable matter platform that can be used for representing 2.5D voxel grid relief maps capable of rendering unsupported structures and 3D transformations. GridDrones consists of cube-shaped nanocopters that can be placed in a volumetric 1xnxn mid-air grid, which is demonstrated here with 15 voxels. The number of voxels and scale is only limited by the size of the room and budget. Grid deformations can be applied interactively to this voxel lattice by manually selecting a set of voxels, then assigning a continuous topological relationship between voxel sets that determines how voxels move in relation to each other and manually drawing out selected voxels from the lattice structure. Using this simple technique, it is possible to create unsupported structures that can be translated and oriented freely in 3D. Shape transformations can also be recorded to allow for simple physical shape morphing animations. This work extends previous work on selection and editing techniques for 3D user interfaces.

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