For almost all immersive and spatialized audio experiences, a person puts on headphones or enters a room a with a High Density Loudspeaker Array (HDLA) to experience 3-D sound, e.g., simulated movement effects, auralization of acoustic phenomena, virtualization of acoustic spaces, simulation of doppler shift, etc. With recent developments in hardware and software, it is possible for coordinated swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to reproduce many of these effects, as well as novel effects for audio spatialization. These “musical drones” carry loudspeakers to project sound as they move on dynamic, coordinated trajectories. Moreover, an audience co-located with the drones is largely unexplored, and could be an opportunity for creating new forms of musical performance.
A collaboration between investigators at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), the School of Performing Arts (SOPA), and The Virginia Tech Laboratory for Coordination at Scale (CASLAB) in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has emerged utilizing coordinated drones to create spatialized music and dynamic projection-mapped visuals. The investigators have already successfully completed proof-of-concept tests with existing equipment at the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) Drone Park on Virginia Tech’s main campus.