Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Flocking Fireworks

Expensive Guidance Systems Needed
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

Like normal fireworks but with little controllable steering fins, a microprocessor and a radio-based system of finding other fireworks (possibly RADAR, but probably a triangulation system using ground-based radio transmitters).

[ See link for 'flocking' algorithms. ]

You could fire them up all at once or delay them a few seconds, to the amazement of your crowds as they fly about the sky like mad space fish or something; in fact you keep pumping more firework into the air - and they would aim to meet with the group - so even though each firework would have a small lifetime, the swarm could last for ages. Maybe.

Of course the s/w would have to have some failsafes; for instance to prevent one nose-diving into the ground and all the rest, lemming-like following them in some sort of pyrotechnic pile-on.

Also you'd have to be careful not to turn a pleasant family evening out into some sort of "shock and awe" style catastrophe of beautiful - and yet - relentless and coordinated attack of smart weapons.

monojohnny, Aug 01 2006

Flocking Algorithm http://en.wikipedia...king_%28behavior%29
[monojohnny, Aug 01 2006]


       Genius! Except that we need some kind of heuristic method both for determining where the closest firework is, and acting appropriately.   

       Yes we can pack our firework with microchips and light (heat?) sensors - but it's going to be a tricky one to pull off without making each firework cost orders of magnitude more than your normal cardboard, plastic and gunpowder affair.   

       For safety, you could conduct such displays from far out at sea (or in remote inland locations)   

       Details aside - with enough stuff in the air at any one time, and all manner of things actually going on, this would be a truely awesome sight. [+]
zen_tom, Aug 01 2006

moomintroll, Aug 01 2006

       I foresee a problem when you add flocking systems to all the Catherine Wheels on the ground - but no-one is REALLY gonna do that, are they?.......
gnomethang, Aug 01 2006

       But the danger of them shooting, kamikaze-like, into innocent spectators adds to the fun...   

       Bun nevertheless. I predict that more will flock afterwards.
dbmag9, Aug 01 2006

       The increased cost of the fireworks could be offset by the need for fewer of them if you can hack the flocking algorithm in your fireworks so that all nearby fireworks displays flock towards yours.
hippo, Aug 03 2006

       Wow - distributed, self organising, firework displays!
zen_tom, Aug 03 2006

       [hippo] - like this idea - effectively hijacking other people's firework shows !
monojohnny, Aug 03 2006


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