The Olympics Opening Ceremony Drone Present Is Simply So Rattling Spectacular

These Winter Olympics will be chock-full of firsts

The drones themselves were just a foot long and weighed eight ounces, but thanks to Intel's Shooting Star service, which controls the drones in unison, more than a thousand can take to the sky to create visual experiences.

According to Intel (and the Guinness Book of World Records), the 1,218-drone flight set a record for "most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously", more than doubling Intel's previous high water mark of 500 drones flying together in a performance in Germany in 2016.

The incident was reminiscent of the Sochi Games in 2014, when one of the five Olympic rings failed to light - but Russian state television aired rehearsal footage of it happening.

"And while more drones does provide a broader canvas, it perhaps more importantly affords a better sense of depth". The performance also surpassed the 300-drone salute that was pre-recorded with Lady Gaga for Super Bowl LI a year ago. Everything is managed from a central computer system, which coordinates the drones on the fly based on things like individual battery life and GPS signal.

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While the scale of the Olympics drone show was unprecedented and surely magical to watch, the slightly less sexy fine print is that it was a prerecorded performance, mainly to avoid the harsh weather conditions expected during the opening ceremony.

Following the PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony, Intel ran a 30-second ad spot featuring the power of Intel Shooting Star drones and their unique entertainment possibilities. Hot of the back of a drone display at CES in Las Vegas, they are using the drone displays to begin conversations about their technology and are even showing off the future of connectivity with a 5G demonstration at the Olympics Winter Games.

Previously, South Korea's PyeongChang Olympics Organizing Committee has pledged to make the Olympics an "ICT Olympics" that highlights Korea's technological prowess on diverse fronts, be it the next-generation 5G network or robotics. NBC tweeted on its official @NBCOlympics page: "A swarm of drones brings us one of the most incredible sights of the #OpeningCeremony".

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