A drone can be defined as ‘an aircraft with the capacity to fly semi or fully autonomously thanks to an onboard computer and sensors’ (CielMap, 2012). A drone is generally thought of as a military weapon or surveillance tool. Commonly referred to as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned aerial system (UAS) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), a drone can also provide a low-cost and low-impact solution to environmental managers working in a variety of ecosystems. Areal Robotic became a common tool for Construction Techniques, Photogrammetry, Transportation Agriculture,Security and Rescue, Environmental research and many more applications.


The ability of drones to extract DATA and translate surroundings conditions into numeric information turns UAV into a highly valuable technology. For several types of situations, satellite imagery and remote sensing analysis are the only way to see what has occurred on the ground, but sometimes the information collected may not be adequate enough. Due to the size and aerodynamics of drones, they are able to fly at lower altitudes, collecting more precise information than manned aircraft or satellites.

Drones have the potential to supplement data collection efforts and contribute to ecosystem inventory and accounting. Specific environmental and ecosystem applications suitable for the use of a drone can range from precision agriculture, to mapping coastline or soil erosion, to species and habitat monitoring.


Drone development has hit an important acceleration thanks to the involvement of a big community of makers and creative people who exchange everyday their knowledge and experiences, reaching important results as lowering down prices for this technology.



NOUMENA, has been invited to take a workshop about NERO | networking environmental robotics by Ecole Nationalle Superieure de Paris Malaquais (ENSAPM) and Digital Department in Paris, France as a part of annual seminar Intensif Numerique 2015 – Digital Design Workshop.

The course will be structured in multiple phases, generating a dynamic workflow from digital to analog and vice versa, in order to offer a complete firsthand experience with aerial robotics, data mapping and data visualization. Aim of the workshop is to create a theoretical and experimental framework, based mostly on open-source tools, with the scope of extracting data from the air to better understand the environment and intervene in design intentions.

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, MakerFaire, and Beyond Building Barcelona/Construmat. NERO is a project developed in a collaborative manner, pursuing several applications thorough 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. Students will learn about computational tools, developing a parametric drone, exploring different design options based on fly’s requirements; will learn about digital fabrication, prototyping drone’s components, laser cutting the frame structure and assembling all parts; will install required electronics, from main board to brushless motors and sensors; will program and update the firmware, preparing the drone for its first fly.

In the second phase of the workshop, students will learn about programming the software and generating strategies autonomously in an optimize way, getting ready to collect the data, mapping the terrain via near-infrared filtered camera and other environmental sensors installed on the drone.

In the last phase of the course, participants will adopt 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.



Day 01 (21st September 2015)

09:00 AM to 13:00 PM: Introduction about NERO project and computation design strategies behind digital protocol for the development of the project.

//// 13:00 PM to 14:00 PM: Lunch Break

14:00 PM to 18:00 PM: Introduction to digital fabrication strategies for NERO through laser-cutting machine to produce the frame structure of the drone.
Day 02 (22nd September 2015)

09:00 AM to 13:00 PM: Introduction to computation design strategies for the data visualization

////13:00 PM to 14:00 PM: Lunch Break

14:00 PM to 18:00 PM: Assembly of the Frame structure with all the required hardware and electronics followed by introduction to mission Planner open source software and programming the drone.
Day 03 (23rd September 2015)

09:00 AM to 13:00 PM: Introduction to flying principles and autonomous flight strategies

////13:00 PM to 14:00 PM: Lunch Break

14:00 PM to 18:00 PM: Mapping and sensing the environment by taking picture through NDVI-Red filtered camera with drone on the field
Day 04 (24th September 2015)

09:00 AM to 13:00 PM: Geo-Tagging all the images to generate the informative maps out of all the images

////13:00 PM to 14:00 PM: Lunch Break

14:00 PM to 18:00 PM: Data visualization (Generating 3-Dimensional environmental maps from physical data)
Day 05 (25th September 2015)

09:00 AM to 13:00 PM: Project presentation preparation

////13:00 PM to 14:00 PM: Lunch Break

14:00 PM to 18:00 PM: Project evaluation



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.  Students will be using Noumena Component for Grasshopper for the first time for the NDVI analysis. These softwares 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.

Each student will be assigned a workshop group and informed of the necessary softwares to download. At the end of the workshops, all the work pro¬duced will be gathered for its future public communication and exhibition. The materials produced by workshop tutors and teachers will be gathered as well to constitute a library of common knowledge and ac¬cessible by any student who wish to learn taught topics in other workshops.




21-25th of September  2015


Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais (ENSAPM), Paris, France





Aldo Sollazzo
Aldo is an architect and researcher. He obtained a Master in Architectonic Design in 2007 and a Master in Advanced Architecture at IAAC [Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya] in 2012. Moreover Aldo obtained MIT´s Fab Academy Diploma in 2014 in the Fab Lab Barcelona. He is an expert in computational design and digital fabrication and since 2011, he is the manager of Noumena. He is also founder of Fab Lab Frosinone and Director of Reshape – digital craft community.

Chirag Rangholia
Chirag is an architect with expertise in digital fabrication and computational design. After completing architecture from CEPT, India, he furthered his interest through researching and developing interdisciplinary skills of architectural and parametric design at Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Spain, followed by expertise in digital tools and digital fabrication by graduating Fab Academy (Course by MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms) from Fab Lab Barcelona.