When art partners with technology the results are often fascinating. But when the starring role is given to sixteen quadrotors mounted with laser lights you’re right to expect nothing less than pure awesome.
The on-stage performance themed ‘Meet Your Creator’ was presented at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as part of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase which is renowned for its spectacular opening events.
The performance of the swarm of laser-fitted quadcopters dancing in perfect harmony while the typical sound of the rotors mixes with an ambient soundscape, gives a sense of just how cool our robot-packed future is going to be.
Meet Your Creator is a multidisciplinary art project where light artists of the Marshmallow Laser Feast collaborated with sound designer Oneothrix Point Never and set designer Sam Arthur. The quadrotors are designed and developed by KMel Robotics.
Behind KMel Robotics are Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger, graduates of the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception). Together with Vijay Kumar they created the now famous swarm of quadcopters performing the James Bond theme [video embedded below].
To get an idea of how the team of autonomous flying robots operates, here’s the description of the set-up of an earlier experiment performed by KMel’s co-founders and others.
“[W]e use the kQuadNano developed by KMel Robotics. The vehicle uses four 8 cm diameter ﬁxed-pitch propellers. The vehicle propeller-tip-to-propeller-tip distance is 21 cm and the total weight with a battery is about 76 grams.
We use a Vicon motion capture system to sense the position of each vehicle at 100 Hz. This data is streamed over a gigabit ethernet network to a desktop base station. High-level control is done in MATLAB on the base station which sends commands to each quadrotor at 100 Hz. The base station sends, via custom radio modules, the desired commands, containing orientation, thrust, angular rates and attitude controller gains to the individual quadrotors. The onboard rate gyros and accelerometer are used to estimate the orientation and angular velocity of the craft. The main microprocessor runs an attitude controller and sends the desired propeller speeds to each of the four motor controllers at 600 Hz.”
The entire experiment is published in the paper Influence of Aerodynamics and Proximity Effects in Quadrotor Flight [PDF]. Authored by Caitlin Powers, Daniel Mellinger, Aleksandr Kushleyev, Bruce Kothmann and Vijay Kumar.