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MIT's flying robot keeps moving photo subjects bathed in light

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 14, 2014
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Pro photographers can spend ages setting up lighting for a shoot. That work may quickly go out the window if the subject moves, however, and an assistant won't always be there to help. Thankfully, MIT researchers have devised a clever solution to the problem: meet Litrobot, an aerial lighting drone. The unmanned craft uses a combination of LIDAR and the main camera's imagery to track subjects and keep them bathed in just the right amount of rim lighting, whether they've stepped across the room or are just striking a new pose. The robot also adapts to the photographer's movements, and there's even an "aggressive" mode that automatically takes a shot the moment the drone is in position -- potentially perfect for action scenes. Litrobot is just a proof of concept at this stage, but it's easy to see future light-bearing UAVs helping out in the studio.

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