Cloud in the Web – Quadrocopters Dancing at Night

Cloud in the Web – Quadrocopters Dancing at Night

Not UFOs – Quadrocopters dancing at night
Austrian researchers developed a unique technology for controlling dozens of flying drones at the same time, creating a spectacular visual display at night with the drones lighting the sky in an array of colors and shapes. The first demonstration which took place late last month included 49 multi-rotor drones which hovered in the night sky in a coordinated dance of glowing shapes.
Quadrocopters are four rotor flying drones. In recent years scientists from around the world have been using these units to study coordinated movements of flying drones. Some spectacular work has been achieved including flying through hoops, windows, building structures using coordinated work and much more.
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However using a very large number of quadrocopters in an outdoor environment is complex even by  quadrocopter research standards (which has been evolving in an unprecedented rate in the last few years).
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The researchers from the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Austria created the first flying formation of 49 quadrocopters which was recently demonstrated over the skies of Linz, Austria. The developers see the project as a new form of 3D visualization technique where each quadrocopter is equipped with multicolor LEDs. The scientist are calling each such unit “spaxel”—a pixel in real space— or mobile lighting fixture.  
Using a special algorithm developed for the project and with the aid of GPS mounted on each quadrocopter, the scientists created a live visual show in the sky above the city as can be seen in the video below.
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Cloud in the Web – 49 Quadrocopters in a visual show above the city of Linz in Austria
 
The project has been developed by researchers of the Ars Electronica Futurelab which focuses on the future at the junction of art, technology and society. Futurelab draws upon transdisciplinary research and work which results in a variety of different disciplines.
More information can be found on the team research paper Spaxels, Pixels in Space – A novel mode of spatial display.
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About the author

Iddo Genuth

Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.

View all articles by Iddo Genuth