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Intel Software The Almighty Buck Entertainment News Hardware Technology

Intel Wants To Replace Fireworks With Drones (marketwatch.com) 94

Intel has announced a drone called the "Shooting Star" that has the potential to augment or replace fireworks. The drone weighs about as much as a volleyball and can light up in 4 billion color combinations for commercial entertainment light shows. MarketWatch reports: Whether drone-focused light shows will prove to be more cost-efficient is a bigger question. The devices would only have to be purchased once, but would likely cost much more than a standard small-scale fireworks show. Small-town holiday fireworks displays typically cost about $2,000 to $7,000 for a basic show, according to Premier Pyrotechnics, while the city of Houston spent an estimated $100,000 on its 2016 Fourth of July fireworks show, according to Houston Business Journal. On a grander scale, estimates suggest Macy's Inc. may spend $6 million on its annual Fourth of July fireworks show. Intel's drones are not publicly for sale, and the chip maker would not disclose how much they would cost. For now, the drones are proof of the ability to automate multiple drone flights at once, using software that could be adapted to commercial applications like mapping or inspections.
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Intel Wants To Replace Fireworks With Drones

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  • Where's the kaboom? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @08:10PM (#53216271)
    There's supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom.
  • If Intel has to branch out into Christmas drones to stay in business.
  • Missing the point (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    People can also watch a fireworks screen saver while staying inside, and yet they keep showing up for real outdoor fireworks.

    Those people don't want a fake show.

    • People can also watch a fireworks screen saver while staying inside, and yet they keep showing up for real outdoor fireworks.

      Those people don't want a fake show.

      No, but they will have to settle for a fake fireworks show in the not-too-distant future if current pressures slowly nudging the rate of upwards growth of a growing laundry-list of forbidden/controlled (or simply caused to become too expensive for most people), materials, substances, chemicals, etc etc, continues unchecked, short of some federal government/military fireworks show.

      This is not happening because of concern about the threat of foreign terrorists or to protect the general public health & saf

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if they can find a way to have samsung get involved. Now there is your earth shattering kaboom!

  • by kqc7011 ( 525426 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @08:20PM (#53216341)
    Unless you hear a boom, whoosh, BOOOOM! then ooh's and aah's it is not worth going to see a overblown light show.
    • Giant drums could provide the booms...

    • You'd think so but light shows and festivals have attracted large crowds everywhere. It may not triage fireworks outright but the idea that people won't see anything else if there's no explosion is just silly.

    • Just make sure that they have Samsung batteries in them and you'll have your booms, ooh's and aah's.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @08:25PM (#53216367)
    in this instance
    • Analog will almost always dominate digital.

      Light switches (okay, mechanical), tea kettles, thermostats, car transmissions, door locks, musical recordings, a veritable smorgasbord of items.

      • Analog will almost always dominate digital.

        Light switches (okay, mechanical), tea kettles, thermostats, car transmissions, door locks, musical recordings, a veritable smorgasbord of items.

        ....including the smorgasbord..... (grin)

      • Is it just me or are all those things mostly digital? Switches are on-off, so are kettles, my thermostat, and my door lock; and non-fancy car transmissions seem to have a number of states that is expressed with a small natural number.
    • Digital could augment the analog, though. Fireworks create a lot of smoke; that's a great medium for lighting up lasers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FFS, at least use standard weights and measures, like Libraries of Congress and Toyotas.

    Seriously, how much does a volleyball weigh? I've never played volleyball so I don't have a clue. 1kg? 2kg? This is important because I need to know how much it'll hurt when the batteries in these things die and they fall on my head!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    can light up in 4 billion color combinations for commercial entertainment light shows

    Total marketing. RGB LED's and PWM has existed a very long time. Sounds impressive until you realize that's just 32bit color.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Basically, it will look like a big stupid christmas tree in the sky. And there will be no explosions, so the audio will be faked too, with huge deafening loudspeakers.
    Fake, fake, fake.

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @08:51PM (#53216505) Journal
    Fireworks is a lot of fun to watch, but what we often forget is that it is a virtual nightmare for the animals, dogs tends to be scared out of their minds during news years eve, and various cities in Sweden are currently working on banning fireworks altogether.

    Truth is, they're environmentally dangerous in every way, fun as it may be.

    The idea of using drones for a light show is a nice one, and could be a way to help professionals make a living of this (because they're also now outlawing drones with cameras in Sweden).
    • [citations needed]

      Which cities in Sweden are banning fireworks?
      What attempt to ban drones with cameras?

      • Drones banned: http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

        And since I live in one of the cities that has banned fireworks, I will not provide you with a source. But google exist...
        • Thanks for the link, I've been busy enough over the past few weeks to miss that story. Interesting explanation of the decision. I wonder if FPV flying for fun / sport will end up with an exemption if it can be shown to be not for the purpose of surveillance? I was tempted to get a FPV to fly in the woods early this year, but this puts me off. I can't find anything about the fireworks ban but I will continue looking.

    • And yet for many many years dogs have survived just fine. Banning something because a few house animals get scared reeks of PETA level activism. If you went to coddle your dog look him in a sound proof room.

      As for environmentally dangerous. I think we'll be just fine with the level of bangs that typically go on.

      Your post reminds me of the guys who wanted to get a rolling stones concert in Vienna banned because of fear the Bose would upset some birds.

    • The fact that Sweden is doing something is pretty much proof positive that we should do the opposite. There is no need whatsoever to follow where radical leftist environmentalists want us to go. They are never satisfied when they achieve their demands, they just move the goalposts and start again. They won't stop until we are all shivering in the dark.
      • The fact that Sweden is doing something is pretty much proof positive that we should do the opposite.

        Sweden has toilets. How about that? Here's your hammer... ;)

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

          Congratulations on your logical fallacy. Want a cookie?

          • It's not a fallacy, it's a common and valid reasoning technique based on classical logic, which you'd learn yourself if you read the page you linked yourself. So indeed you've demonstrated how absurd it is to say "let's not do something because Sweden is doing it".
  • Gee, can't imagine why some cities have empty coffers.

    • Houston, the city named with the $100K fireworks budget, has a balanced budget [houstonpublicmedia.org]. Considering it's $2.3 billion annual budget, $100K is just 0.004% of it's budget. I'll bet the $2K-7K small town fireworks shows cost a lot more, as a percentage of their total budget. As a Houstonian, I'm happy that they spend a little bit of their money to celebrate our nation.

  • When a drone can deliver that gut thumping feeling of a big firework going of, the streak of a burning explosive gaining altitude, the another boom of going off BEFORE the 'awww the pretty lights' moment, then I will be impressed.

    For now, why don't we let the chemist geeks have their fun mixing up new surprises for us to enjoy.

  • "Augment", a.k.a, ruin, fireworks. I already can't stand the music they try to sync up with them... "They comin' to America!" Shut up, Diamond...

    Am I the only one who thinks fireworks are awesome (not the over-used definition of "awesome", but awesome) by themselves? I was lucky enough once to be very close to a show (right under it) where the crowd was small and quiet - it was like I was seeing/hearing the very extremes of what the universe is capable of. Though it was so high, after the boom, I co
  • Grand (Score:4, Funny)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @09:32PM (#53216701) Homepage Journal

    Then in the winter months we can eat raw marshmallows and shiver in front of a recording of a roaring fire.

  • by afgam28 ( 48611 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @09:48PM (#53216757)

    I'm surprised TFA doesn't have a video. This is what they're talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    For some reason people these days always seem to want to "disrupt" things. It's not enough to create something new; you have to destroy everything that came before you to be considered a success. I think Intel's drone show looks nice - it's very serene and calm - but fireworks are explosions. This is not necessarily worse or better, it's just a different thing from fireworks, and doesn't look like it'd create the same atmosphere.

    On a semi-related note, those who like fireworks might this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]. It's a daytime fireworks show that uses colored smoke trails, as well as microcontrollers to synchronize detonations. Some very cool effects.

    • I'm surprised TFA doesn't have a video. This is what they're talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?.. [youtube.com]

      And the crowd goes mild.

      No - that won't ever replace fireworks.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Intel's drone show looks nice - it's very serene and calm - but fireworks are explosions.

      What about putting explosives on drones and have a drone demolition battle.

    • For some reason people these days always seem to want to "disrupt" things. It's not enough to create something new; you have to destroy everything that came before you to be considered a success.

      Not people; this appears to be a predominantly American quality.

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      I think it's very pretty, and I see it as a fine complement to existing displays.

      The best, can't-keep-your-mouth-shut-because-of-awe shows I've seen combine encompassing sound that can be felt, explosions that are beautiful, and lights that amaze...all perfectly choreographed.

      This adds another dimension to that kind of spectacle, like lasers did in the 80s. Except this time, it is precise movable points of light in the sky.

      They can also be flown in the DMZ between the spectators and the fireworks launch si

  • Well, as long as those drones will be filled with gunpowder in them and explode into the night, then I guess it could be done.
    A drone light show, no matter how advanced and interesting it might be, will never replace fireworks.
    It's just a different category of attraction.

    You could put a million of drones with very strong led lights in them, make them dance around, build some interesting images, formations and whatnot... it would be plenty awesome I guess. But fireworks are all about explosions, fire, the sm

  • I can see it adding something to the show if the drones are carrying and able to fire conventional fireworks. Maybe re-enact the death star battle from star wars.

    Yes, there is the possibility of collateral damage and death - but I'd go watch .

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

    I can see them complimenting each other. Drones give you complex geometrical patterns, movement, and words; while traditional fireworks give you Kaboom and little sparkles.

  • Drones at most might be able to match two of those criteria that make fireworks cool, probably more like one. What *could* be cool, though, is fireworks fired *from* drones, which gives you more height and the ability to do cool things that might not be possible from land-launched fireworks.

  • They did a drone show last year in Sydney at the Vivid festival. While it was cool and different, there's no way that it can replace a fireworks show. They flew impressive patterns and light shows, but had issues with wind and were very complex to setup with a couple of hundred drones.

  • For everyone against not having a "boom", we could just get Samsung to manufacture it.

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