As a research group focused on making user experiences more seamless, natural and integrated into our physical lives, MIT’s Fluid Interfaces research collective exists at the forefront of what’s next in interaction design. Founded by tech pioneer Pattie Maes, the goal of the group is to design and develop interfaces that are a more natural extension of the human mind, body and behaviors using novel form factors that make use of a full range of sensory capabilities.

More recently, the group turned their attention to a Sharpie-wielding drone that someday just might replace neck-straining vertical whiteboard sketching for good with their “Flying Pantograph”.

Created by students Sang-won Leigh and Harshit Agrawal (with support from Pattie Maes), the Flying Pantograph transposes human-drawn sketches to a physically remote output canvas in different scales and aesthetics using a modified drone as an “expression agent”:

Says the team:

“Not only mechanically extending a human artist, the drone plays a crucial part of the expression as its own motion dynamics and software intelligence add new visual language to the art. This agency forms a strong link between a human artist and the canvas, however, in the same time, is a deliberate programmatic disconnect that offers space for exploiting machine aesthetics as a core expression medium.”

To check out more impressive projects that the Fluid Interfaces group is working on, head over to their Featured Projects page.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.