If you work as a photographer’s assistant setting up lighting for the photographer, be advised that your job may soon be fulfilled by “squadrons of small, light-equipped autonomous robots that automatically assume the positions necessary to produce lighting effects specified through a simple, intuitive, camera-mounted interface.”
Researchers at MIT and Cornell University presented a prototype system that uses an autonomous helicopter to produce a difficult effect called “rim lighting,” in which only the edge of the photographer’s subject is strongly lit. The helicopter worked at very high speed to automatically maintain the rim width that the photographer specified even if the subject — or photographer — moved.
When will this Unassisted Autonomous Vehicle (UAV) technology move from the lab to the field?
“Clearly, taking the UAV system out of the lab and into the real world, and making it robust enough to be practical is a challenge, […] but also something that should be doable given the rapid advancement of all of these technologies.”
You know, all those unassisted robots we see in movies? Will they become an ever present reality? Soon, the knock you hear at your door may be that of an unassited robot delivering your pizza, book, or [hopefully, rules will prohibit it] selling you stuff you do not want or need.
But that robot setting up lighting is scary stuff. Will it soon pick up our camera and edge us aside? After all, can’t most good composition, correct exposure and interesting effects be programmed? Do we really need a carbon-based individual behind the camera for most types of [commercial?] pohotography? Food for thought.