By Vivek Kumar
THE OPENING CEREMONY of any Olympics provides pageantry at a global scale, a celebration that, at its best, can create moments every bit as indelible as the games themselves. For the Pyeongchang Games, those watching the curtain-raiser at home also witnessed a sight never seen before: a record-setting 1,218 drones joined in a mechanical murmuration.
Drone shows like the one on display at the Pyeongchang Games have taken place before; you may remember the drone army that flanked Lady Gaga at last year’s Super Bowl. But the burst of drones that filled the sky Friday night—or early morning, depending on where in the world you watched—comprised four times as many fliers. Without hyperbole, there’s really never been anything like it.
As at the Super Bowl, the Pyeongchang drone show comes compliments of Intel’s Shooting Star platform, which enables a legion of foot-long, eight ounce, plastic and foam quadcopters to fly in sync, swooping and swirling along an animator’s prescribed path.
“It’s in essence technology meeting art,” says Anil Nanduri, general manager of Intel’s drone group.