In the middle of Italy flows one of the most polluted rivers of all country: “ il Sacco”. A river of 80 km that goes deeper inside Ciociaria to end up near the capital of Rome.
The story started in 1912 several industrial agglomerate were built over the Sacco River. During the years, a grievous twisting of business and politics omitted the controls on the local polluting factories. In the 90’s, tons of toxic barrels have been discovered buried in Colleferro. From the buried barrels, there were leaks of a dangerous substance called beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (B-HCH); coming from the lindane, a pesticide produced many years before by the chemical industry.
The plants in Colleferro should have been treating only authorized wastes but they were practically burning also toxic wastes coming from Campania region.
During the 2009, further environmental damages were discovered, and therefore severe consequences on public health were reported. The exploitation of the Sacco valley has been also confirmed by data (source: local sanitary officers, ASL Rome E) published in September 2008, coming from an epidemiological survey done on a sample of local inhabitants:

B-HCH, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), dioxine, heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead have been found in the blood of the people living and working in that area.
The Sacco river become a sewer collector and also sort of “chemical lab” because of the swarm of venomous chemical products that hosts. Ground waters, are contaminated by heavy metals. Soil are permeated by pesticides and tumors’ diffusion shows anomalous peaks.
This environmental disaster caused a generalized shutdown for many farms between the provinces of Rome and Frosinone.
Today Frosinone is in the last positions in the ranking compiled by Legambiente, for the quality of the general ecosystem (2009). Its province, according to the Environment Ministry data, is one of the 50 most polluted sites in Italy.

VALLE DEL SACCO, (2012). Valle del Sacco: a poisoned land. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].

CARLO RUGGIERO, (2013). Cattive Acque. ed. Round Robin, Roma.



NOUMENA & FLONE, in collaboration with FABLAB FROSINONE and IAAC – GREEN FABLAB presentDATA MATTER | environmental aerial robotics workshop.
The course is inspired by the investigation developed along the Sacco river by Carlo Ruggiero, pubblished on“Cattive acque” and the experimental research ran by Michela Ruggiero, co-founder of Fab Lab Frosinone. The course will take place in Frosinone, Italy and will be related to the fields of aerial robotics and data visualization. It will propose a theoretical and experimental framework to develop a database on the area around Valle del Sacco, translating data into visual outputs from the different levels of environmental conditions.
During the workshop, participants will have a first hand experience with aerial robotics, mapping and data visualization. The course will focus in several different stages, generating a dynamic and innovative workflow. Main tool of the course will be Flone, a popular open-source drone developed in Spain and already presented in several international events and exhibitions such as Fab10 and MakerFaire.
Flone is a co-operative project which explore and envision several applications that translate a basic drone into a multidisciplinary and professional tool. Flone have been already engaged to the field of art and technology, investigating social and professional practices , focusing on topography, energy performance certificates for buildings, environmental strategies of forestation, human rights and aerial photography.
During the workshop participants will develop skills of digital fabrication, electronics, programming and data management. Starting from scratch, students will learn all the assembly process of the drone, from laser cutting frame structure to the installations of motors and drivers, followed by coding the electronic boards and fly experience. You will be able to fly and controll the drone by your android smartphone with an application developed by Flone.
On site, along the Sacco river, students will use the drone and learn strategies of data recollection, terrain mapping via smart-phones, infrared camera and other environmental sensors installed on the drone.
In the final stage of the course, participants will adopt computational techniques ,learning how to organize and visualize data, generate a 3d environment, elaborate informative maps as a resourceful environmental information documents for the recovery of the Sacco river and it’s natural and social context. The fee for the workshop include the ownership of the drone built during the event once the course will be over.



Schedule; 24th – 28th November 2014

Day 01: Drone fabrication and assembly process
Day 02: Electrification and Programming of Drones
Day 03: Flying principles
Day 04: Mapping and sensing the environment (Recollection of NDVI pictures by Drones)
Day 05: Data visualization (Generating 3-Dimensional environmental maps from physical data)



Gimbal for camera
Smartphone Camera (SkyCam)
Near-Infrared Camera (Public Lab Point and Shoot)
Environmental sensors
Mapknitter (Public Laboratory; Collaborative manual construction of the map)
Grasshopper3D plug-in with Rhino3D modelling software
No specific prior experience of robotic is needed. Students will be introduce from basic to more advanced knowledge on fabrication, robotics, data visualization, parametric design during the workshop.
Basic understanding of Rhino and Grasshopper3d is welcome.



Aldo Sollazzo  Noumena
Chirag Rangholia – Noumena
Lot Amoros – Flone
Alexandre Oliver – Flone

DATAMATTER | environmental aerial robotics workshop

24th – 28th November 2014

Frosinone, Italy