Record-breaking drone show lights up Winter Olympics opening ceremony

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Intel planned for an ornate light display involving drones at the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on Friday, but the company had some trouble getting its show off the ground.

The light show used Intel's Shooting Star drones, which were also featured in Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show a year ago, and at Intel's CES keynote back in January. "From flying 100 drones simultaneously in 2015, to 500 drones in 2016, and now more than 1,000 drones - the sky is the limit with entertaining through Intel drone light shows".

"As it turns out, bring 1,218 of those drones into harmony doesn't present much more of a logistical challenge than 300, thanks to how the Shooting Star platform works". Images of the December rehearsal show the "Shooting Star" drones lighting up the sky with Olympic rings, a snowboarder and a dove.


"And while more drones does provide a broader canvas, it perhaps more importantly affords a better sense of depth". It features built-in LED lights able to create over 4 billion color combinations. Intel designed and developed custom animations for the opening ceremony and nightly victory ceremony performances, which include animations of different sports and various Olympic-related logos including the formation of the iconic Olympic rings. The performance also surpassed the 300-drone salute that was pre-recorded with Lady Gaga for Super Bowl LI previous year.

While the drone performance did play a major part in giving the PyeongChang Olympics Opening Ceremony a major tech spin, some South Koreans expressed regret that the foundational technology came from a foreign company. One human employee, dubbed the pilot, hits a button on a computer to launch the automated show. Intel does still plan to put on smaller, 300-drone live shows every night for the medal ceremonies.

"We are excited to be part of the Olympic Movement to integrate Intel's innovative technologies to advance the Olympics Games experience for fans around the world".

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