Ready to be amazed? This video of tiny hexacopter drones playing real instruments may be one of the best demonstrations of robotic agility yet.
The tiny hovering band plays a few iconic classical tunes with the help of a few modifications — a wire attached to this one, a striker to that one — and are assisted by a few other mechanical contrivances.
First is "Thus Spake Zarathustra," by Richard Strauss, then "Carol of the Bells," by Mykola Leontovych, and lastly, of course, the national anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner," by Francis Scott Key.
"There is nothing on the market like this small hexrotor as far as we know," Daniel Mellinger, part of the KMel Robotics team that engineered the performance, wrote in an email to NBC News.
In case you're wondering, the bots do have a higher intelligence guiding them — not a human, explained Mellinger, but "an overhead network of motion capture cameras that is used to localize the vehicles... sort of like a very accurate indoor GPS system."
It's not the first time drones have played music: Another set of KMel's drones played the "James Bond" theme back in early 2012 — though the new ones are a decided improvement to the design.
First published April 24 2014, 5:14 PM
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer at NBC News; he started his role in April of 2013. Coldewey is responsible for original reporting on a number of tech topics, such as photography, biotechnology, and Internet policy.
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Coldewey joined NBCNews.com from TechCrunch, where he was an editor covering a similarly wide variety of content and industries. His personal website is coldewey.cc.