Remember the remote control flying shark drone*? Care of Aerotain‘s Project Skye, the little shark that could may be a view of the future of advertising in the form of 10-foot, floating promotional spheres.
Aerotain’s mini-blimps come with all the pros of drones and none of the cons of blimps – they’re maneuverable and safe, and unlike their enormous helium filled predecessors (and quadcopters) can comfortably get up close and personal with crowds. Like drones, they are also remote controlled and have a mounted camera, but unlike regular quadcopters can be kept aloft with minimal use of power. Coming in modifiable balloon ‘skins’, they also go out of their way to be seen rather than ignored – the demo video sees spheres dressed as footballs, eyeballs and the moon, as well as sporting company decals. The video preview sees the spheres flying around conferences and events, and it’s easy to imagine one joining a parade or capturing a sporting event.
The project has a surprising pedigree. It started as a collaboration between Disney Research Zurich and the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich in 2011, and went on to incorporate the founders’ master’s theses at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Aerotrain’s clients already include a host of festivals and tech events.
Project Skye might not be Back to the Future‘s holographic Jaws or Minority Report‘s personalised 3D advertising – but they form a new front in the future of advertising, and illustrate an innovative, safe way that drones can enter the public sphere.
*If you’re struggling to remember what the remote control shark looked like, you can check it out below, flying around the NY Natural History Museum, a shopping centre and the 50th Street subway (causing minor havoc).
(Via Gizmodo, where writer Chris Mills was not at all keen on a future of ever-present advertising drono-spheres)