Intel drone swarm takes center stage in spectacular New York Christmas show

The Radio City Rockettes are an iconic, New York-based dance company that has regularly performed at the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan since 1932.

If musical theatre is not your thing, you’ll probably still be familiar with the Rockettes – just think of lines of dancers kicking their feet up in unison to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. 

Every year, the Rockettes put together a glitzy ‘Christmas Spectacular’ show. The finale’ of this year’s performance features 100 Intel shooting star LED drones moving in harmony with the dance troupe.

The 100 Shooting Star follow preprogrammed routes and with each drone fitted with LED lights, they move to form spectacular 3-dimensional shapes or to simulate stars, explosions or patterns.  Impressively, it takes just one Intel staff member to oversee the entire drone performance. The 100 Shooting Star drones following a complex routine involving 3D shapes, flying towards the audience and integrating with the 36 Rockettes on stage.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any truly great photos of the drones in action, so here’s a photo of one of their previous performances – to give you an idea of the kind of scale of things.  

This performance is particularly special, given that it is the first time Intel drones have taken part in an indoor show. As such, they designed these Shooting Stars to be more compact (each one is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand), lighter, and with smaller props. When flying inside, the drones do not have to deal with unexpected elements such as gusts of wind or rain and the design reflects that.

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