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Air-dropped art: how 'Project: Blue Sky' aims to deliver 3D-printed statues with flying drones at Burning Man

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Nonprofit ReAllocate aims to give Burning Man attendees a keepsake they won't soon forget: a personalized 3D sculpture delivered via air drone.

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ReAllocate Blue Sky
ReAllocate Blue Sky

Bringing home a souvenir from an art or music festival is nothing out of the ordinary, but ReAllocate plans to give Burning Man visitors a keepsake they won't soon forget: a personalized 3D sculpture delivered via air drone. The nonprofit is calling this initiative Project: Blue Sky and has turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to make it a reality.

When festival-goers stop by ReAllocate's "dome" — a structure comprised of several shipping containers — they'll be able to pose for a 3D photo captured by Microsoft's Kinect. Once the picture is taken, they'll be handed a GPS transponder and can get back to enjoying Burning Man festivities. In the meantime, ReAllocate will create a miniaturized 3D model of each person with the help of a Cubify 3D printer. When the figurine is completed, it will placed inside a container, hung from a multicopter, and flown out to its intended recipient. That's where the GPS device comes into play, tracking your location and vibrating when the UAV arrives overhead. Once in position, it will descend and allow the 3D model to be removed.

The Blue Sky art project is actually meant to serve as a pilot for an larger initiative, which will see variations of these high-tech domes brought to "economically underprivileged" regions where ReAllocate will provide social entrepreneurship classes in the hopes of spurring business growth in deprived areas.

You'd figure such an ambitious plan to be an expensive endeavor, and Project: Blue Sky is certainly that — ReAllocate is shooting for a $15,300 funding goal on Indiegogo. Unfortunately the outlook isn't terrific: with only four days to spare, the project has pulled in just over $3,000. That puts at risk both the coolest memento you're likely to come across in the near future and ReAllocate's more important social initiatives.