600 lighted drones in murmuration over Black Rock City

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/15/600-lighted-drones-in-murmurat.html


I’m reminded of the scene of the two aliens getting it on over the gas station at the end of Monsters.


I guess Burning Man is the safest place for that many drones to fly without someone shooting at them. :sunglasses:


Very pretty and probably technically impressive, but there is a galaxy out there for free, sadly hidden by all the light pollution.


“Fully have of the festival-goers were sober enough to understand these were drones. Other explanations ranged from pixies to fish.”


i happened to be lucky enough to have been there for this. it was simply one of the most gorgeous, impressive things i saw on the playa this year. the drones were all autonomous, keeping track of each other and their place in the shape, and adjusting on the fly. it was amazing. i still get teary-eyed with every new video of it i see, and this one is the best yet.


The drones were guided by a specially made algorithm that simultaneously allows both individual choice and movement as a group.

I wonder if it incorporated a flocking algorithm. In any case, impressive and beautiful. It must have been wonderful in person.


What image did these drones create? Maybe I missed it in the short video, but all I saw was a shifting amorphous blob. Pretty!


I was recently watching a video of a somewhat more corporate display, with 1500 drones:


They did something like this a few months ago here in Frankfurt at the reopening festival of the rebuild historic citycenter.

That was pretty lit.

a galaxy that is blissfully silent. Whereas the noise generated by 600 drones must be utterly excruciating.

1 Like

real question: wasn’t it very noisy? my experience of drones is that the irritating noise they generate negates any possible benefit they might have.

1 Like

no, not at all, but there’s a couple things that contributed to it: you could hear some whirring during the quietest moments, but you have to understand that apart from the piano that accompanied it (which was piped through the Mayan Warrior art car’s incredible sound system), there’s the ever-present background noise of Black Rock City itself going on. i also suspect that the drones they used were higher quality than the normal ones you see, and were quieter in general, but that’s just my guess.


“Of course it incorporated a flocking algorithm, what the flock were you thinking?
Now get the flock off my lawn!”


  • a Flamboyance of flamingos
  • a Squabble of gulls
  • a Parliment of owls
  • a Murmuration of drones

-Amazing gathering in the harsh desert of mostly good hearted humans.
-Thousands of creative weirdos leaving less of an environmental footprint than your typical American high school football game.
-Knowing that years of creative wizardry and hours of hard work, maybe learning the piano, maybe learning to code, maybe earning a degree in Art Theory; all can be reduced to crocodile tears from an online commenter with an itchy finger on the snark button.

My Burning Man List is complete!


band name “The Inevitable Crowd Control of Murmuration”


Ive been out of the scene for a while, but the burning man I remember only ever recognized litter as pollution. Unwanted noise simply does not exist as a concept in Burner vernacular.

(Come to think of it, this might have something to do with why its been so long since I went)

My first thought is, we should stop doing fireworks for July 4th, and do this instead. But then I consider Id rather just celebrate a completely different independence day with this, one we have yet to earn.


that is a future that i am ready to see