Feeds

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

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.