In Los Angeles last night (Sept. 14), people looking skyward over Dodger Stadium witnessed an illuminated display celebrating a comic book superhero. But it wasn't the Bat Signal sending out a distress call for Batman — it was a fleet of 300 lit-up drones performing choreographed maneuvers to spell out Wonder Woman's trademark "W" symbol.
The dynamic light show was produced by Warner Bros. in partnership with Intel's drone team, for the "Wonder Woman" film's U.S. release on Blu-ray, scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 19), Syfy Wire reported.
Intel's LED-carrying "Shooting Star" drones were the stars of the aerial performance. Shooting Star drones were also used to dramatic effect during singer Lady Gaga's 2017 Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 5, TechCrunch reported. [Beyond Wonder Woman: 12 Mighty Female Warriors]
The spectacular shapes the drones produced in the sky included Wonder Woman's belt — in 3D — as well as the Wonder Woman "W" and an outline of Wonder Woman kneeling with her sword.
"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins shared footage of the event in a tweet, showing members of Intel's "drone team" preparing the Shooting Stars and calibrating the software that controlled their coordinated flight patterns.
Footage of a computer screen in use by the drone team displayed animated models of the Shooting Star fleet as the aircraft moved into position — a sight that was mirrored overhead by the real drones as they flew up into the night sky.
Shooting Star drones are lightweight quadcopters that are built from foam and plastic, and weigh about 12 ounces (330 grams). Intel designed them to carry LEDs and perform light shows, with the possibility of generating more than 4 billion color combinations based on combinations of red, green, white and blue, according to an Intel fact sheet.
The accompanying proprietary software and animation interface enable users to not only coordinate hundreds of these drones at once but also do it quickly, thus making it possible to design a complex aerial light show much more quickly than was possible in the past, according to Intel.
In 2016, Intel set a world record for the number of drones controlled by a single pilot with a laptop, choreographing 500 Shooting Star drones in a fireworks-like display over a sports field in Krailling, Germany.
Original article on Live Science.
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Mindy Weisberger is a Live Science editor for the channels Animals and Planet Earth. She also reports on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.