Fireworks in 2023 will contain explosive new tech


There’s one thing that’s stayed relatively true to its origins — and that is fireworks. Manufacturers still create them using a mixture of black powder and explosive chemicals with an additive or two to make brighter colors when they pop. But wouldn’t you know it, fireworks have been advancing all along, even in some pretty surprising ways.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Did you know launching fireworks is a competitive sport in Japan? The competition alone has helped push the boundaries of what’s possible in active fireworks. But innovators have a few things up their sleeves, too — so much so that this year’s fireworks could contain some explosive new technologies.

A Brief History of Fireworks

The original designs come from ancient China and often included gunpowder, metal shavings, and other ingredients to create exotic colors for the time, like red. The Chinese discovered fireworks after they attempted to roast dry bamboo. As the wood heated, the air inside created so much pressure the bamboo exploded and made a loud cracking noise. From there, they formed small bombs using similar designs until; eventually, they manufactured fireworks.

They were nothing more than simple explosions until the 1800s, when the Italians discovered how to use metal salts to add some color. Salts like copper for blue or strontium for red were added to the containers. When they exploded, they created bright, glowing colors, like today’s fireworks. Through lots of experimentation, they found other metal salts to use. The rest — as they say — is history.

Down with the Boom

Traditionally, fireworks are so loud that some places have outlawed them. The bigger they are, the louder the explosion sounds that follow, which can be bad for infants, children, and those with conditions like PTSD. But what if it was possible to set off a “quiet” firework that didn’t include the loud noise?

Calling them “silent” or “quiet” is a bit disingenuous because they still create noise, so a better choice is “low-noise” fireworks. However, the main takeaway is they’re a lot less noisy than traditional options and are becoming increasingly popular.

In the future, you may see fireworks that have even more reduced sound, potentially even earning that “quiet” moniker. Or, imagine a skyborne holographic showing the shock and awe of fireworks in their full colorful glory without any noise.

Fireworks over Chicago created by Midjourney AI 5_1 May

Goodbye, Darkness, My Old Friend

Think back to every fireworks show you’ve ever watched or attended. What time do they usually happen? At night, when the sky is dark, and the bright colors are easy to see, right? Well, several companies have created fireworks that can be used during the day and are just as bright and colorful.

Watching them go off in a slow-motion video is mesmerizing, but forget watching them on a screen — it’s so much better live. There’s a stark difference between the two types of fireworks, however. While traditional fireworks are explosive and created through chemical reactions, daytime fireworks are made of playful smoke.

Think beyond your average fireworks show and consider corporate advertising, like logos and messaging that display after a firework goes off, additional interactivity with light shows or complementary bubbles, and much more. The daytime shows could be just as vibrant and just as happening as the night-time ventures.

Automation Rules the Roost

Choreographed firework shows — usually to music, and sometimes additional light shows and 3D elements — have long been handled manually. With intelligent automation, it’s now possible to automate a show for appropriately timed explosions and better events, with some unprecedented experiences for the audience.

Blasts can perfectly time the crescendos of beautiful melodies. Synced explosions and colors can create illustrations or complex designs in the sky. Wind and gravity calculations can be made on the fly to create even more fantastic shows, even as the glittering pieces fall back to Earth. During T-Mobile’s New Year’s at the Space Needle, fireworks and light displays synced with over 200 drones to create the most spectacular shows.

Fireworks and Modern Tech

Speaking of drones and light shows incorporated into fireworks displays, there’s another focus for the industry’s future. Adding additional technologies into these shows is definitely something to expect. For example, think of 3D projections or models, lasers, and even other choreographed elements — like planes flying overhead or interactive cityscapes.

Perhaps the most innovative will be these solutions for the average person. No, you won’t be having huge and elaborate fireworks shows from your backyard, but you will be able to utilize some of these technologies for yourself, which offers a brighter future all around. Imagine elevating a party or cookout with a custom fireworks display. It’s certainly a clever idea.

A Brilliant and Booming Future

In terms of composition, today’s fireworks aren’t much different than ancient fireworks from centuries ago. While people are still working on getting the purest blues possible, they can certainly create fireworks in just about every other color imaginable. Thanks to modern technology, they can also automate and choreograph those explosions better than ever to the sounds of music, or additional elements, like drone shows, light shows, 3D displays, and much more.

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