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A fleet of nearly a million colored, sparkling lights lifts off
from a huge grid of simple launchers that has been towed
into the center of the stadium. As the lights go out, the
crowd oohs and aahs as 100 foot tall, 3d images of the
rival mascots wrestle above the playing field. Suddenly the
image dissolves and reforms as a colossal rotating trophy.
The digital fireworks continue like this for around ten
minutes, when overtaxed LiPo batteries begin to give out.
The fleet lands, and the half time show is over.
A typical cheap RC plane costs around 20 dollars. Without
the markup I'm sure is present in that price, but including
the additional power needed for towing a ten light string, I
would guess each of the 87,500 aircraft might cost around
40 dollars. The computing power needed to individually
control the aircraft could be rented, and the three high
resolution cameras tracking the aircraft's positions would
have nearly negilible cost in the overall project. This leads
to a crude budget estimate of around 4,000,000 dollars to
create the reusable display.
While this seems incredibly expensive, it is well under the
price of one minute of Super Bowl advertising.
Each helicopter contains small LEDs and acts as a smart pixel. [xaviergisz, Nov 20 2011]
[theircompetitor, Nov 21 2011]
||With the current research into both robotic 'insects' and cyborg (computer controllable live) insects, this could be done even better than 'light strings under aircraft'.
||This would be better with microcopters, a new-ish breed
of tiny (6" dia) UAVs that can both hover and make
extreme maneuvers very quickly. Each one in the swarm
could carry a cluster of HI-LEDs. They're a little pricey,
but I say if you're gonna spend a shit-ton of money, spend
||Wow, good find [xaviergisz].
||87,000 control channels? I guess if you give each one
an IP address it can be done.
||I think you would be much better off using fixed
wing vehicles for the lights than RC helicopeters,
simply because of speed and battery life. The fastest
I've seen an RC helicopter in the 20 dollar price range
go is a slow walk, while Foam RC airhogs often can
get around 20 mph. For a staduim sized, dynamic
display, a slow walk isn't good enough.
||I would like to see someone paint the wingtips of a swarm of starlings with a radiant luminescent substance, and then record the effect when thousands of the birds unite to soar, swivel, spiral and dive in unison. I never fail to be awed by their precision flying skills when swarming in the twilight.
||If one could train the starlings to perform on cue like racing pigeons, then you would have the makings of a terrific half-time act for spectator events. And I imagine the cost would be mere pennies per bird.