Dances with Drones


As drones become interwoven in human activities, increasingly taking on tasks interpreted as creative and performative, such as choreographed light shows, there is emerging interest in understanding how drones and humans can perform together. Humans have different habits when performing with partners as opposed to solo. How do people adapt their behaviors and perspectives when improvising with robotic partners? To explore these questions, we conducted a study investigating dancer-drone interactions using a system of micro aerial vehicles designed to facilitate improvised solo and partnered dances. Through solo and tandem dances with one or two robots, we analyzed the performers' perceived workflow from semi-structured interviews and quantified their movement patterns during the improvisation. We found that the dancers perceived drone movements through spatial metaphors like the ceiling and gravity, anthropomorphizing drones as props on a stage through position and generated sound. The dancers felt a greater connection in single-drone scenarios and showed heightened avoidance behavior in two-drone situations. Our work shows how a robotic system can energize human dancers to improvise individually and in pairs.

Collaborators in the project: Rhythm Studios, Hong Kong Swings, Ars Electronica Founding Lab and Ars Electronica Future Lab.

Publication: Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'24).


RAY LC, Pakpong Chirarattananon, Kaixu Dong, Zhiyuan Zhang, Xiaoyu Chang


hci, performance, social good


Hong Kong Research Grants Council General Research Fund, CHI, CityU Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering