Skip to Content

Super Bowl 51: All the drones that stole the show

Did you see the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show? As Lady Gaga sang “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” from the top of NRG Stadium, a light display that looked like dancing stars moved in the sky behind her. Before she leaped from the roof and was lowered into the stadium, the lights formed the stars and stripes.

How did the production team pull that off? Were those lights lasers, some kind of new, hi-tech fireworks, or was it just a huge green screen?

The answer is Intel; 300 drones powered by the tech corporation were synchronized to create the American flag, the Pepsi logo, and the Intel logo. Intel calls these drones “Shooting Stars.” They’re about a foot wide, weigh about eight ounces, and they can create over 400 billion color combinations.

A central computer controlled each drone individually by giving it instructions for its location within the formation. This computer was also able to check the battery levels and GPS signal strength. And if one drone were to fail, another would replace it within seconds. Intel said this system is capable of controlling up to 10,000 drones at once.

This isn’t the first time Intel has pulled off a major light show with drones. This past holiday season, they partnered with Walt Disney World to create the Starbright Holidays show. Shortly before that, Intel set the Guinness World Record for “Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously” by flying 500 drones at once. Watch the video below to see footage of the company breaking the record. They also explain the technology that powers the drones.

(Note: If you are reading this article using the App, click here to watch the video.)

This wasn’t Intel’s only contribution to the big game. Did you catch the Be the Player replays that showed viewers the player’s perspective? This was another feature powered by Intel where several cameras created a 360-degree view of the game’s action.

Did you enjoy Intel’s technology that enhanced the game and halftime show? Or did you not really notice it? Let me know in the comments section below.

More from Happening Now

Hackers stealing YOUR money right under banks’ noses

Wow! Detect the flu before you show symptoms

Audi’s new paint technique lets you personalize your vehicle

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community!

Get even more digital know-how and entertainment with the ad-free Komando Community! Watch or listen to The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, and get answers in the tech forums.

Join Now