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Sky Magic is a type of drone developed by Japanese tech company MicroAd. But what makes these flying devices special, and earns them their name, is that they’re equipped with hundreds of LEDs that can be controlled to generate mesmerizing lights shows. Case-in-point: the recent live performance that was conducted at the foot of Mt. Fuji with a group of Shamisen players.

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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. That was the quote that inspired the name for these drones, explains creative director Tsuyoshi Takashiro. “I wanted to bring a new type of magic to the sky using drones.”

So Takashiro programmed over 20 Sky Magic drones equipped with 16,500 LEDs and had them perform in front of Japan’s majestic Mt. Fuji at sundown. And the Oyamakai ensemble of Shamisen players were asked to perform, creating a mesmerizing light and sound show that’s something akin to a futuristic display of fireworks.

Takashiro is a fascinating filmmaker and writer. Unfortunately, his talents have been clouded by his marriage and divorce to actress Erika Sawajiri. But in writing about his latest project he leaves us with some interesting predictions for where drones are headed in the future. “Three years ago if someone told you that cameras would soon be flying through the sky, most would not have believed them,” he says. “So I’d like to say this again: soon monitors will be flying through the sky.” (quotes translated from Japanese to English by author)

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