Did You Catch the 300 Drones Flying Around During Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show?
History was made on Sunday during the Super Bowl. Sure, the NFL had it’s first-ever overtime championship game and the largest comeback in the history of the post season, but I’m not talking about football. Another Super Sunday first took place during Lady Gaga’s halftime performance: the use of drones.
Sure, they weren’t there live, but what an impressive showing by the fleet of 300 Intel drones.
At the start of the performance, as Gaga was poised atop NRG Stadium in Houston singing God Bless America, the 300 drones (or at least a previously recorded clip of 300 drones) were lit up, floating around in what appeared to be organized chaos. Eventually, they formed a giant American flag in the sky.
— James Kimbrough (@JamesKimbrough) February 6, 2017
The quadcopters, which were unveiled by Intel last year, are about a square foot in size and weigh just 8 ounces thanks to a foam body design. Each is equipped with an LED that can produce four billion color combinations. That, obviously, lends itself well to the entertainment space.
But it’s not the first time the Intel drones have been used. Last year, the company went “on tour” with about 100 of them to show off the technology. They then upped the ante and set a highly-specific world record (which is recognized by Guinness) by flying 500 of them simultaneously.
The synchronized drone performances are boiled down to sophisticated coding. Each drone communicates with a central computer. That computer acts almost like a conductor, executing the routine. Throughout the show, the computer is able to check the battery level and GPS signal strength of each drone and assign it roles accordingly.
When done right, the result is a beautiful display of technology. It shows, at the very least, that drones have a role in the entertainment space beyond capturing images and video at unique angles. And the fact that Intel was able to pull off the feat during the world’s largest television spectacle is impressive. It’s a huge win for Intel, a huge win for the drone market, and a huge win for people who enjoy innovation in entertainment.
So, no matter your opinion of the music during the halftime show (or the outcome of that stupid, awful, dumb game—damn you, Tom Brady…), you have to be excited about the possibilities for drones moving forward. The future appears, well, bright.