A mind-bogglingly awesome new project from MIT called Flyfire hopes to use large, precision-controlled clouds of micro-helicopters, each carrying a color-coordinated LED, to create massive, three-dimensional information displays in space.
[Image: Via Flyfire].
Each helicopter is “a smart pixel,” we read. “Through precisely controlled movements, the helicopters perform elaborate and synchronized motions and form an elastic display surface for any desired scenario.” Emergency streetlights, future TV, avant-garde rural entertainment, and even acts of war.
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Instead of a drive-in cinema, in other words, you could simply be looking out from the windscreen of your car at a massive cloud of color-coordinated, precision-timed, drone micro-helicopters, each the size and function of a pixel. Imagine planetarium shows with this thing!
The Flyfire canvas can transform itself from one shape to another or morph a two-dimensional photographic image into an articulated shape. The pixels are physically engaged in transitioning images from one state to another, which allows the Flyfire canvas to demonstrate a spatially animated viewing experience.
Imagine web-browsing through literal clouds of small flying pixels, parting and weaving in the air in front of you like fireflies (or imagine training fireflies to act as a web browser). You’re in a university auditorium one day when, instead of delivering her projected slideshow, your professor simply remote-controls a whirring vortex of ten thousand flying micro-dots. Digital 3D cinema is nothing compared to this murmuration of light.
Channeling Tim Maly, we might even someday see a drone-swarm of LED-augmented, artificially intelligent nano-helicopters flying off into the desert skies of the American southwest, on cinematic migration routes blurring overhead. On a lonely car drive through northern Arizona when a film-cloud flies by…
An insane emperor entertains himself watching precision-controlled image-clouds, some of which are distant satellites falling synchronized through space.