Flyfire Swarming Display: Top Secret MIT Project?

by Mark R

I’ve always thought about how cool it would be if bees could swarm into shapes, like they do on cartoons. Think of that one school of fish in Finding Nemo. With the bees example, I would imagine it would be a cross between the nano-swarm in Michael Crichton’s Prey or the smoky monster from Lost.

Apparently, some people are working to create a swarming display over at MIT’s SENSEable City Laboratory. This program, dubbed Flyfire, uses a lot of micro helicopters with multicolored and controllable LEDs. As they come together, they can form a 3-D display.

Normally, this is the point where I explain that there is a video of this product after the jump, but the video from my source went offline shortly after they posted about FlyFire. Is this technology meant to be some sort of top-secret project that somehow got leaked? You might want to check my Source to see if the video has re-posted.

If it hasn’t, I can see why. All these tiny micro copters working together could do some serious damage in nano-swarm form. However, this doesn’t sound like something that is designed to be weapon, but something to make a display.

Man, can you imagine these micro copters en masse to produce an object that is, for lack of a better word, a flying statue? This could easily replace those balloons at Macys.

Of course, you would need a truckload of this microcopters, plus some program to make them work in sync. But who cares about the problems? It’s a nifty concept, isn’t it?


2 reviews or comments

Mebot lets you talk to the little one on your desk » Coolest Gadgets Says: March 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

[…] would appear that when MIT isn’t working on top secret Flyfire Swarming Displays, they make […]

Pixel-bots will rock your world » Coolest Gadgets Says: March 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

[…] are the pixel-bots, which remind me of that supposedly top secret MIT project with the swarming robots that I reported on a while ago. Granted, the individual units here don’t exactly fly, but the […]

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