We've seen those propeller LED displays make their way from shop windows to bicycle wheels, but now Japan's mobile phone operator, NTT Docomo has utilized the technology in a vehicle of the aerial kind. The result is a what the company believes is the world's first flying spherical drone display.
Consisting of a quadcopter contained within a spherical frame measuring 88 cm (34.6 in) in diameter, the device produces images via a series of eight vertical curved strips of LEDs that rapidly rotate horizontally. As the strips rotate, the LEDs flash on and off to form a display measuring 144 pixels high and 136 pixels at the "equator" of the LED frame.
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Docomo says the largely hollow structure enabled by the lightweight external frame and internal LED frame overcomes the problem of creating a drone-based spherical display that doesn't interfere with the airflow around the drone's propellers while allowing the illusion of a solid display.
With the entire unit weighing 3.4 kg (7.5 lb), Docomo says the drone is extremely maneuverable and could be used at indoor or outdoor concert venues as part of a performance or to deliver event information or advertising. To this end, the company plans to commercialize the device before March 2019.
If you're keen to get an earlier look, the spherical drone display will be showcased in a flight demonstration at NTT Ultra Future Museum 2017 during the Niconico Conference that starts in Chiba City, Japan, on Saturday April 29.
Source: NTT DocomoView gallery - 3 images