This isn’t a flock of birds, it’s a swarm of drones. The 24 drones in the latest video from New York-based studio magicLab perform a range of acrobatic stunts and analyse their surroundings to steer clear of obstacles, including each other.
The eye-catching stunt was created by magicLab director and ‘cyber illusionist’ Marco Tempest. “Mathematics,” he explained on the video, “can be mistaken for intelligence, intelligence mistaken for personality.”
Tempest explained that the video let people explore “the anthropomorphisation of technology”, an illusion he argued would have “far-reaching consequences” as our world becomes increasingly autonomous.
The video was created in collaboration with Daito Manabe, Motoi Ishibashi and their team at Rhizomatiks Research in Tokyo. “By controlling multiple drones moving freely through a three-dimensional space we can now conjure our mental images in the real world,” explained Manabe.
The issue of how drones can be elegantly integrated into our lives was previously explored by Tempest in a 2014 TED Talk. At the time he demonstrated sensor technology and safety features of his robotic assistant.
As drones become more ubiquitous, controlling them safely will become increasingly important. The technology is already being trialled for deliveries and used in film-making, with some envisioning a future of flying compasses and intelligent parasols.