Quadrotor Opera Begs For Lasers And Pink Floyd

In case quadrocopters aren’t cool enough, here’s an orchestrated quadrotor light show that was shown at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this last week. With 16 quadrotors and a few can lights, it’s a light show not to be missed.

This quadrotor show was created by a collaboration between KMel robotics and Marshmallow Laser Feast. The guys behind KMel are the same brilliant minds behind this nanocopter swarm that can play the [James Bond] theme. For this light show, the guys at KMel Robotics used a Vicon motion capture system to coordinate the flock of quadrotors, as seen in this picture.

With a servo-controlled mirror on the bottom of each quatrotor, each vehicle in the fleet is able to reflect beams of light around the stage and into the audience. Now it’s only a matter of time until a setup like this is used for a showing of Laser Floyd.

Tip ‘o the hat to [cesar] for sending this one in. Via IEEE Spectrum.

Edit: They’re not can lights. After watching in 1080p, [Impulse405] is pretty confident they’re High End studio spots or a wash with a tight focus. Thanks for keeping us honest, [Impulse405]!

10 thoughts on “Quadrotor Opera Begs For Lasers And Pink Floyd

  1. yep, awesome!

    next step… use for much more insidious tasks…. err wait, there’s no way to use this concept for evil things…. what am I thinking…

    amazing, but a very scary future is likely to be awaiting us

  2. I’m all for electronic music, but this music was boooooring. BUT, very cool quadcopters performance. Can’t wait to see them patrol in the streets and shoot down people.

  3. Actually, to be really precise, they are Moving Head Projectors (Random google search example: http://www.dts-lighting.com/XR3000_SPOT_CMY))

    These are lights mounted in a motorized head, capable of 360* panning and (usually) 180* tilt. High end models also have gobo’s for projecting shapes, adjustable focus, zoom (divergence angle), iris (Adjusts the width of the light bundle) and color. All controlled via DMX communication. And a blast to play around with :-P

    1. To add more precision, these lights are mounted on the floor, and the quadrotors have mirrors on them, if I am not mistaken.

      So, the choreography software needs to be able to track the helicopters and be able to point the projectors at them. That’s pretty cool.

  4. They’re Clay Paky Sharpys. Look at 2:20 and you can see the sticker on the side… (http://www.claypaky.it/en/products/sharpy)

    What is crazy interesting is the motion tracking system they seem to be using. Looking at the way those lights are moving, there is a slim chance they are doing it any other way. It also seems to be able to tell which fixture goes with which quadcopter. Around 5:30 you can see one start hunting for its target.

    1. I’m convinced active tracking of the quads is involved in the lighting system, perhaps with each light being set to follow a designated quads flightpath as it moves through its routine.

      If you look carefully at the solo quads descent at 2:18, you can clearly see the lighting fixture tracking around to follow the quad as it approaches within a few feet and below. As someone with a little exposure to moving light systems, I don’t believe you could program that fine level of precision and have it line up to the quads 100% of the time. Real world aerodynamics alone would make the quads far too unstable to accurately follow such a small mirror with such a narrow beam over such a range of distances. Not as consistently as we see here.

      Seems much simpler to set up a polar array of IR receivers per light and have them track an IR pulse on the bottom of the quad IMO. If that’s not how they’re doing it, its something I’d love to try at least.

      Whatever voodoo they used, the results are just magnificent. There is something organic to the movements of the beams, and I ruttin’ love it.

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