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Flying robots build 20-foot tower in France

In the first show of its kind, flying robots build a model of a futuristic city that would be one-third of a mile high.

FRAC Centre

Would you stand next to a 20-foot tower built entirely by flying robots? People in France have been doing just that.

With no apparent fear for the busy little cyber-creatures, visitors to the FRAC Centre in Orleans are craning their necks to take in "Flight Assembled Architecture," an installation that links robotics and architecture and is billed as the first of its kind.

Four quadrocopters have been lifting 1,500 blocks and precisely placing them to build a 20-foot tower, which is a model of a futuristic city that could house 30,000 people. They fly autonomously but place each block according to the blueprints.

The show is the work of ETH Zurich roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea and architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler.

"Conceived as an architectural structure at a scale of a 600 meter-high 'vertical village,' the installation addresses radical new ways of thinking and materializing architecture as a physical process of dynamic formation," the team said in a release.

In the vid below, quadrocopters can be seen placing blocks on the growing tower as gawkers look on. Good thing the blocks are made of polystyrene foam.

"Flight Assembled Architecture" runs through February 19.