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A Man Directs 24 Autonomous Drones Using Gestures

February 9, 2016

Watch a "virtual magician" demonstrate the ties of magic and technology
Marco Tempest, founder and director of magicLab, dazzles viewers with an exhibit of how drones seemingly gain personality traits. All 24 autonomous quadcopters used in this video are directed by Tempest’s commands, as he waves his hands in the air and speaks to them as if they were alive.

The drones follow his gestures thanks to a proprietary indoor localization and control system that took more than three years to develop. Tempest appears to have complete control over the quadcopters, which is an important act in itself.

Before drones can deliver goods or be present in everyday life, the industry must prove drones can be properly and adequately controlled.

At one point in the video Tempest said, “As a magician, I’ve always known that the illusion is in the mind of the beholder. Once upon a time, this would have been magic; today it is a trick of technology.”

The video was made in conjunction with artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi and their Rhizomatiks Research team in Tokyo.

According to the magicLab website, the goal of this collaboration is to “create an intimate interaction between man and machine, and explore the anthropomorphization of technology, an illusion with far reaching consequences as we share our world with an increasing number of thinking machines and devices.”

This video showcases the wonders of drones. Honestly, isn’t there a little bit of magic in all technology?

Learn more about this project on the magicLab website.