Besides South Korea and North Korea marching together, one of the most talked-about moments from the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony on Friday had to be that spectacular Intel drone performance.
The chip giant lit up the night sky over PyeongChang, South Korea, with 1,218 Shooting Star drones, which flew in unison to form a twinkling snowboarder and the iconic Olympics rings.
As Recode reports, a live show was scrapped due to concerns about nearby spectators. Instead, NBC aired a prerecorded version. It still set a Guinness World Records title for the “most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously,” though, beating out Intel’s previous record of 500 drones flown simultaneously in Germany in 2016.
Specifically designed for entertainment light shows, Intel’s Shooting Star quadcopter drones weigh just 330 grams—slightly more than a volleyball—and feature built-in LED lights that can create more than 4 billion color combinations, Intel said. A single pilot using one computer controls the entire fleet of drones.
Intel’s drone team used the company’s proprietary algorithms to develop custom animations depicting various winter sports and Olympic logos for the show. Using a reference image, Intel’s software automates the animation process by quickly determining the number of drones needed, where they should be placed, and the fastest way for them to get there. Intel said its drone team can create a light show in “a matter of days or weeks,” depending on the complexity of the animation.
“The Olympics are a time when the sports and entertainment industries are buzzing with record-setting performances, so it was the perfect stage for Intel Shooting Star drones and our team to set their own kind of record,” Natalie Cheung, general manager of Intel’s drone light show team, said in a statement.
Check out photos and the full show below.