Drone to produce spherical LED images for sports events

NTT Docomo

Japanese telecommunications company NTT Docomo has created the first drone capable of displaying LED images on a spherical screen during flight. While drones are currently used in a variety of fields, the company hopes to use its new innovation at sporting events and concerts as well as during emergency situations.

“We are thinking about using it, for example, during the halftime break of soccer games when it could serve to display advertisements, or at the end of baseball games,” designer Wataru Yamada explained. “About future development, we are working so that the drone can be further used to advise the people in case of emergency.”

Built with a spherical structure, the drone will be made up of eight curved LED bars rotating horizontally at high speeds. This will display images similar to the appearance of a hologram.

This video in Japanese shows a working model of the technology.

In the past, the difficulty of building a drone with this ability was the weight of the device. The added weight of the display made it difficult to achieve proper airflow from the propellers. Thus, the created a device that is lightweight allowing for flight while still creating an afterimage effect.

Yamada explained that he first took on the project because he wanted to create something capable of producing an aerial image to view live, rather than through a screen.

According to a release, Docomo plans to commercialize the product at recreational events in around two years.