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article imageDisney's 'Starbright Holidays' features LED-lit dancing drones

By Karen Graham     Nov 19, 2016 in Technology
Florida's Disney World is offering up a new type of holiday entertainment this year that is sure to create a lot of excitement with children and adults alike. "Starbright Holidays" will feature 300 LED-lit dancing drones in the night sky.
With the push of a button, the show begins, as 300 drones rise into the night sky over a nearby lake. You can't see them because it's dark, but you can hear the drone as they get into place in the formation.
The music starts and the drones light up — the ballet begins, and the Ohhhs and Ahhhs soon follow, reports the South Florida Reporter. They also published this update from Disney: We’re excited to share an update that the first shows of “Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration” will begin on November 20. You can see the nightly performances at Disney Springs at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. from Nov. 20 – Jan 8.
The aerial ballet is a collaboration between Disney and Intel, and the show is called, “Starbright Holidays — an Intel Collaboration.” The stars of the show are Intel's new Shooting Star quadcopters. Intel has done this sort of thing before, in Sydney earlier this year, they synched 500 drones.
Shooting Star drones only weigh 280 grams. They have a tightly integrated LED payload built into a s...
Shooting Star drones only weigh 280 grams. They have a tightly integrated LED payload built into a soft frame made of frangible materials such as flexible plastics and foam. Propellers are protected by covered cages. There are no screws.
Josh Walden, the general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group, told Wired, “Our drones, together with Disney’s expertise in animation as well as storytelling, and the music score, together make what we think is going to be a groundbreaking form of entertainment."
Disneyland and Walt Disney World had to get a special exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration because both are FAA designated no-fly zones. The exemption permits the park to operate the semi-autonomous drones until 2020 when it expires, according to Mother Nature News.
We know from past experiences what Disney and its animators can do, but the drone technology behind the aerial display is fantastic. The little drones only weigh a little over half-a-pound and are about a foot long and wide. The LED light display they carry is able to create over four billion color combinations.
Walden says the drones will do anything they tell them, and Intel has created an entire platform to create aerial displays. “The way that they work is that they wirelessly talk with the computer. The drones don’t actually communicate with each other," he says.
“You program them upfront for the light show itself, and then the drones essentially are independent.” Walden also says the drones aren't assigned a specific role in the light show. It is only after the computer goes through a number of algorithms, such as GPS signal and battery level on each drone that the drone is assigned a specific part. Then, all the operator has to do is push a button.
More about Disney world, starbright holidays, Drones, Fireworks, led lights
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