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A petting zoo of crystal-encrusted drones has been deemed too dangerous for London

A rendering of Drone Aviary at the London Design Festival
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A rendering of the now-cancelled Drone Aviary by Superflux

An interactive drone installation planned for the London Design Festival in September has been canceled, the project’s sponsor, Swarovski, said in a statement, citing concerns over the “safety of members of the public in close proximity to the drones.” The Drone Aviary would have taken over the Victoria and Albert Museum’s garden with a swarm of a dozen or so drones covered in Swarovski crystals, “offering the public a chance to interact with ‘semi-autonomous’ creatures,” according to a now-removed description of the project from the festival’s site. “This would have been the first time that drone technology has interacted with the public in a museum setting,” Swarovski said in the statement.

The designers of the proposed installation, Superflux, had already helped create a similar project in 2011 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. There, they repurposed drones typically used in surveillance, turning them into a roving Wi-Fi and file-sharing network. For a taste of the aerial ballet that Londoners now won’t experience, there’s a video of the Dutch project.

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