Japanese tech firm NTT DOCOMO has unveiled the world’s first holographic drone, which presents itself as a spherical screen that can fly through the air.

The company said it can be used for advertising, replacing the need for the old school aeroplanes with a trailing banner for example.

Although the drone gives the illusion of a floating globe, it’s actually a drone inside a spherical frame, with eight curved LED strips that emit the content. The LEDs rotate super-fast while in the air, making it appear as if a solid image is being projected.

It can be controlled remotely, although the company hasn’t said whether it will use its own proprietary controller, software on a computer or even a smartphone for the ultimate in portability.

“Equipping a drone with a spherical display had proved difficult until now due to challenges such as the display interfering with the airflow of the drone’s propellers as well as the added weight of the display,” the company said in a press release. “However, DOCOMO’s solution uses a largely hollow display that is exceptionally lightweight and allows air to flow through it, yet it still achieves the illusion of a solid display by creating an afterimage effect with rapidly spinning LEDs.”

NTT DOCOMO showed its drone of at the Niconico Chokaigi conference, which celebrates Japan’s internet culture.

The company, best known for its mobile telecommunications network, explained it could be used to promote messages at big events like sport matches or a concert, meaning venues can get rid of the big screens and have this little gadget whizz around the arena instead.

The company said it doesn’t expect the drone to be commercially available until March 2019, so it’s unlikely we’ll see it replacing advertising aircraft just yet. Before it’s ready to set its sights on the skies, it’ll no doubt have to be thoroughly tested in a range of different environments.