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Swarm of quadrotors lights up the Austrian sky

This formation of 50 flying LED drones may appear to be a UFO, but it's really a programmable formation of 3D shapes. Could this catch on as a form of art?

The drones can configure into glowing 2D or 3D shapes.
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

We've seen many uses of machines in visual art, but few seem as promising as this configuration of dancing lights.

Just check out the amazing vid below, shot in Linz, Austria, at the Cloud in the Net festival.

Ars Electronica Futurelab managed to fly 50 synchronized quadrotors, effectively forming luminous pixels in the night sky.

The quadrotors were 18-ounce AscTec Hummingbird drones from Ascending Technologies that were equipped with GPS and pulsating, multicolored LED lights.

The performance featured an unprecedented number of synchronized quadrotors, but the notion of flying pixels is hardly new.

MIT's SENSEable City Laboratory and ARES Lab proposed swarms of tiny luminous helicopters forming abstract shapes and even renditions of fine art such as the Mona Lisa in their Flyfire project.

As the cost of drones drops and programming becomes easier, we're bound to see more of these man-made nebulae acting as displays, art, advertising, and, of course, UFOs.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)