KMeI Robotics programs coordinated drones to play musical instruments.

These Drones Can Play Musical Instruments

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 22 2014 6:06 PM

These Drones Can Play Musical Instruments

To get pumped up for the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., this weekend, a group of drones got together and made some music. But they didn’t just poke synthesizers or crank some jams out of speakers—they were actually coordinated to play musical instruments in time.

KMeI Robotics coordinated the show for the Science & Engineering Festival, and the swarm of hexrotors will perform it live. They play “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s not exactly current stuff, but they’re classic favorites. And the drones do really well! They rock out on a single-string electric guitar, various drums, keyboards, and more. As KMeI describes it, “There are bells. Lots of bells.” When it comes to drones making music, you have to give the people what they want.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is a staff writer and the lead blogger for Future Tense.

  Slate Plus
Plus Roundups
March 5 2015 11:29 AM What We Like Right Now Our favorite picks for the week of March 2, curated by Slate writers and editors.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
March 6 2015 8:08 AM The Man Who Discovered Thiamin Today, we take vitamin B1 for granted. But it took a horrible, wasting disease—and lots and lots of chickens—for scientists to discover it.