We’ve seen robots on stage before: Humanoids have been featured in theater productions in Switzerland, Austria, and Japan, and industrial robots have played parts in dance performances and other staged events. Flying robots have also played a theatrical role, for example in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Texas A&M, a dance set to a Schubert piano trio at MIT, as well as in advertising. Some robots have even gone pro: Robothespian was designed for acting and is rented out for performances.
But the dance between human and machine has never looked quite like this.
This short film, titled “Sparked”, was produced in collaboration between researchers at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena, their spin-off company Verity Studios, and entertainment company Cirque du Soleil; in other words, it’s quadrocopter magic that makes the lampshades fly.
The film marks a step change from previous work by ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena team, catalyzed by their new spin-off company Verity Studios, which also gets credit for designing the quadrocopters’ choreography. Here, in spite of their computer-controlled precision flights, the flying machines become robot actors that are individuals with their own personalities: Pomponette, with her tassels bustling in the propellers’ airflow; the Medusa with its bizarre tentacles waving in the wind; the Runt, sleek and fast but still glowing and twitching from the electric shock. And Lady Purple, absent from most of the film because of her intractable aerodynamics.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com