Feeds

DRONE WARS: Killers, spies? Nah, they're IDEAL for snapping pics of hot models

Face, face... Give beauty, face, face!

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Drones have been used for various tasks including killing opponents from afar, spying on enemy combatants or even carrying bomb-disarming kit.

But a group of researchers from MIT and Cornell University have dreamed up a much more peaceful role for the snap-happy autonomous robots.

Boffins have suggested that drones could serve as photographic assistants, working in swarms to shine light into the darkest of areas.

At the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging in August, the team will present a small helicopter which can produce an effect called "rim lighting", where only the edge of a subject is lit.

Manohar Srikanth, a postdoc researcher at MIT, said this was notoriously tricky to achieve.

"It's very sensitive to the position of the light," Srikanth says. "If you move the light, say, by a foot, your appearance changes dramatically."

The robot is able to perform quick movements, allowing it to throw exactly the right kind of light from the correct angle.

"If somebody is facing you, the rim you would see is on the edge of the shoulder, but if the subject turns sideways, so that he's looking 90 degrees away from you, then he's exposing his chest to the light, which means that you'll see a much thicker rim light," Srikanth continued. "So in order to compensate for the change in the body, the light has to change its position quite dramatically."

Cleverly, the drone is able to communicate with a camera 20 times a second allow it to compensate for a photographer's movements and move into position. This is no easy feat, added Srikanth.

"When we first started looking at it, we thought we'd come up with a very fancy algorithm that looks at the whole silhouette of the subject and tries to figure out the morphological properties, the curve of the edge, and so on and so forth, but it turns out that those calculations are really time-consuming," he continued.

Instead, the algorithm looks for the areas with the largest differences in light brightness, measuring the width between the two to assess the "rim" and then throw the light in the correct configuration.

The drone is not likely to find its way into every-day studios any time soon, but where it could find a use is in motion-capture film studios, although they require pinpoint accuracy.

So until then, it's work experience kids who will end up holding the lights. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay
Stump up via tat bazaar, do a good thing for ill kids
Check your Clungene, Irish women warned
Have a quick shufti, you may not be pregnant after all
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.