For the final project, I intend to make helium filled air-swimmers that can carry light polyethylene walls and are able to fly in swarms. As an art project, I intend to the get these swimmer swarms to create a makeshift space around a walking person to showcase the idea of private space in public areas. I intend to make these swimmers follow the person either by using ultrasonic or optical tracking, with the difference that ultrasonic could probably be mounted on the swimmers while the optical tracking will have to be separately mounted in space.
I sketched some ideas about these balloons and I am in the process of exploring the control and manoeuvring they can provide. The communication with these swimmers will take place by RF to control the rudders/tails and their locations with respect to other units in space.
In terms of fabrication, if I'd be printing custom shaped inflatables as well, I intend to do so by fabricating Plaster of Paris moulds and painting them over with latex to get custom shapes/sizes of swimmers. I'd program an on-board chip for communication and navigation, one that could also be aware of its position with respect to other units and make necessary adjustments when the other units move.
Some of the challenges that could arise are the limited weght that these swarms can carry, range of ultrasonics that would need swarms to be close which would need pretty accurate hovering, maneuvring and control.