Seems like Cirque du Soleil can turn just about anything into a mesmerizing performance, even lampshades. A new collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich and Verity Studios features 10 quadcopters carrying out the kinds of complex synchronized dance maneuvers we usually see from the circus' famed acrobats.

Sparked centers around an electrical appliance repairman, who finds that the lamps in his shop have become animated after a power surge. As the illuminated lampshades fly around the space above, they appear to respond to his movements. In reality, they were performing preprogrammed movements, although there was still an element of interactivity involved.

Flying Lampshades

What makes this clip amazing is the one thing it doesn't feature: computer graphics. The whole short was shot in one take and contains no CGI or video trickery, just a computer tracking position inputs from the quadcopters 200 times per second in order to coordinate and control them. Although the 10 drones did a lot of flying in formation, each one was also assigned a certain "personality" that was reflected in the way it moved.

If you close your eyes and switch on your imagination, you might just picture these secret happenings in our own factory once all have gone home for the night.

Cirque du Soleil Lighting

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