Watch This Mind-Blowing Quadrotor Performance

A swarm of quadrotors puts on a trippy light show in Cannes

2 min read
Watch This Mind-Blowing Quadrotor Performance

We've always known that quadrotors had a penchant forputting on shows, but this seriously takes the robot cake. A swarm of quadrotors performed at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week, and it's absolutely mind-blowing.

I should preface this video by letting you know that it involves swarms of flying robots, as opposed to lights on strings, but for quadrotor enthusiasts, the sound at the beginning is a dead giveaway. Also, it may start off a little bit slow, but it gets super trippy after a few minutes:

The first 2:30 of the video involves the pyramid talking to you in a sultry voice about how this is the opening ceremony for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Apparently, Saatchi & Saatchi is famous for its opening theatrics, and this year, they hired KMel Robotics to work its magic with a swarm of quadrotors, with creative direction from Marshmallow Laser Feast.

KMel Robotics was founded late last year by Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger, both graduates of UPenn's GRASP Lab, to "push the limits of experimental robotics," and as far as we know (and we don't know that much about KMel), this is it first major project. There isn't a lot of information outside of the video, but we did spot a Vicon system up above the stage, which explains how the quadrotors were able to move so precisely.

This performance reminds us more than a little bit of MIT's Flyfire concept, which (had it actually existed) would have created displays using swarms of very small flying robots equipped with LED "pixels." KMel is doing something very similar, albeit on a different scale, and we can't wait to see what it comes up with next.

[ New Director's Showcase ] and [ KMel Robotics ] via [ Creative Review ] and [ GRASP Lab ]*

*I stole the "mind-blowing" headline from here, because honestly, what the heck else do you call something like this?

The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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