With New Years Eve coming up, it is time to talk about the future of firework. Disney World Orlando changed this ancient Chinese tradition to start the new year with a bang. When dusk falls over the entertainment complex, hundreds of luminous drones take off, replacing their regular fireworks show.
Three hundred quadcopter drones where released into the air during the first show, titled ‘Starbright Holidays’. Each drone weights less then a volleyball and contains a color changing LED light. Accompanied by music all drones fly in various formations, from the shape of an eagle to a Christmas tree. To develop the perfect drone choreographies a special logarithm had to be made. Are these drones a silent and safer replacement to fireworks?
“They way that they work is that they wirelessly talk with the computer. The drones don’t actually communicate with each other” says Josh Walden, manger of the Intel’s New Development Group, who developed the show. “You program them upfront for the light show itself, and then the drones essentially are independent”.
Besides entertainment, these drones flying in formation could be used for other purposes. In case of emergencies, they could take off in the shape of an arrow to guide big crowds. Also firefighters could release a flock of drones into a burning building to guide people to the emergency exits. This technology, originally developed for leisure, could save a life, though it will need to have a different shape from a flying Santa Claus.