Couples visiting San Francisco’s Union Square earlier this month were encouraged to romance one another beneath a floating piece of mistletoe, in classic Christmas fashion. Actually, “classic” doesn’t work at all in this context. And “floating,” because the mistletoe was held by a drone, which was piloted above willing pairs to instigate romance like some kind of neo-cherub.
The project was put together by Mustafa Kahn and George Zisiadis, the latter being a San Francisco-based designer best known for his “Pulse Of The City” project, which places stand-alone heart monitors in public areas for pedestrian usage. They debuted their footage of the drone’s love raid on Union Square via Youtube, which you can watch here.
When you think of what drones are most infamous for - undermining liberties and disintegrating people - Zisiadis and Kahn’s project acts as a refreshing twist on the good-drone-bad-drone discussion. Hell, if Amazon’s looking to implement drone technology as a method for delivering non-lethal payloads, it’s no surprise that these hovering intelligences are being put to use in a variety of ways across civilian life. (They’re alright on the dancefloor, too, but that still doesn’t make them sexy)
Mistletoe’s fine and all, but don’t be fooled. It’ll never get up there on the “cheer” scale with pets: our adorable, oppressable mascots of the holiday season. You can’t cuddle a drone, can’t feed it table scraps until obesity, can’t listen to it grunt wildly while you try dressing it into a holiday sweater. It’ll take more than mistletoe to change public perception of flying robots. Program them to deliver burgers and lotto tickets, and I have a feeling they’ll gain a sizeable fan club.