Drone can be defined as ‘an aircraft with the capacity to fly semi or fully autonomous thanks to an onboard computer and sensors’ (CielMap, 2012).  Till now, Drones have always been associated with warfare or as a military robot aircrafts; Commonly referred as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned aerial system (UAS) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). However these days drone technology is becoming more and more affordable and mainstream, making it ideal for a wide range of applied research applications.  Areal Robotic became a common tool for Construction Techniques, Photogrammetry, Transportation, Agriculture, Security and Rescue, Environmental research and many more applications. For several types of situations, satellite imagery and remote sensing analysis are the only way to see what has occurred on the ground. But Conventional platforms for acquiring these data, such as piloted aircraft and satellites, are expensive. It is also difficult to get data that matches the scale needed to understand all the environmental encounters. Thus the use of aerial robots can be beneficial in order to complete tasks with precise timing or position requirements that are complex, or that are to be carried out in hostile environments.


As Peter Drucker said “ What gets measured gets managed“. Data interpretation is part of daily life in a networked society we live and now are getting in the age of big data. The big data revolution is that now we are able to do something with data and will transform how we live, work and think. The ability of drones to extract DATA and translate surroundings conditions into numeric information turns UAV into a highly valuable technology. It is essential for the observation of environment to analyze and inspect all conversions on the ground and in the air. Drones have the potential to supplement data collection efforts and contribute to ecosystem inventory and accounting.

Drone development has hit an important acceleration thanks to the involvement of a big community of makers and creative people. Exchange of their knowledge and experiences, reaching important results as lowering down prices for this technology and making it more accessible. NERO focuses on dynamic open workflow and thus it has abridged all the processes of data collection, binding all the phases in one economically competitive, accurate and open scientific process. Thus the intention of this project is to create a bridge between the drone technologies, data collection and visualization to encourage real time data interaction with any field or people.

Usually data collected through drones has limited accessibility and rarely interact with design intentions of urban planners, architect and landscape designers. Until now there are several incoherent services to provide these kind of data, which have an unclear workflow and highly expensive and inefficient.

Design; explore emergent behaviors, chaos, fractals and many more inspiring concepts based on the principles of looping data NOUMENAin collaboration with IAAC | GREEN FABLABpresents: NERO | networking environmental robotics workshop. The course will be structured in multiple phases, generating a dynamic workflow from digital to analog and vice versa to offer a firsthand experience with aerial robotics, data mapping and data visualization. Aim of the workshop is to create a theoretical and experimental framework, based on open-source tools, with the scope of extracting data from the air to better understand the environment and intervene in design objectives. Main tool of the course will be NERO, an open-source drone developed by NOUMENA and already presented in several international events and exhibitions such as Fab10, Maker Faire Rome, and Beyond Building Barcelona/Construmat. NERO is a project developed in a collaborative manner, pursuing several applications through computation and coding turning a basic drone into a multidisciplinary and professional tool.

The whole workshop is divided in different phases through which participants will develop several skills, mainly focused on DATA. First phase of the workshop is about an Introduction to computational tools, developing a parametric drone. During these phase students will observe the process of digital fabrication through laser cutting the frame structure and assembling all required parts; program and update the firmware to prepare the drone for its first fly.

In the second phase of the workshop, students will learn about all correlated software and hardware to fly and measure the environmental data.  The idea is to understand the strategies to fly drone autonomously in an optimize way and to collect augmented data. This phase involves different devices; mapping the terrain via near-infrared filtered camera and sense the environment by Smart Citizen board to collect other environmental data such as temperature, humidity, noise, co2, etc.

In the last phase of the course, participants will embrace computational techniques, learning how to organize and visualize data, generating environmental 3-Dimensional maps, elaborating these maps and database as a resourceful informative documents to it’s natural and social context.

Aerial robotics
Digital fabrication
Data collection
Data visualization

Day 1 / 12th February, Friday 10 am – 18 pm
Introduction to Drones
Flying principles
Open Lecture by Rodrigo Bautista, partner of Forum for the Future

Day 2 / 13th February, Saturday 10 am- 18 pm
Introduction to data mapping
Autonomous Fly
Collection of pictures from the air

Day 3 / 14th February, Sunday 10 am – 18 pm
Data visualization
3dmensional data models
Final presentation session


  • Noumena NDVI Library for Grasshopper3d
  • Mission Planner (GEO tagging Images)
  • Pix4D Software
  • Grasshopper3Dplug-in with Rhino3Dsoftware

The workshop is open to all participants; no previous knowledge of Rhinoceros, Grasshopper or tailoring techniques is required (although an introductory knowledge is welcome). Participants should bring their own laptop with a pre-installed software.  The software package needed has no additional cost for the participant (Rhino can be downloaded as evaluation version, Grasshopper and plugins are free). These software are subject to frequent updates, so a download link to the version used in the workshop will be sent to the participants a few days before the workshop.

Chirag Rangholia of Noumena
Starsk Lara of collaborator of Noumena

Rodrigo Bautista, partner of Forum for the Future

Valldaura Self Sufficient Lab
Ctra. BV-1415 (Horta-Cerdanyola), km 7
08290 Cerdanyola del Vallès
Barcelona – Spain

Online Map

Fab Lab Barcelona
Get the student discount code for a 20% reduction on the workshop fee


Note: When arriving by the Carretera de Horta a Cerdanyola you will find the main entrance at the metal footbridge at km 7.5. The entrance is sign posted Can Valldaura / A04. The entrance is at the apex of the hill, it is not located at the restaurant.