Researchers at MIT and Cornell University have developed autonomous photographic lighting drones that automatically assume correct positions to achieve specific lighting effects

The drones were presented at the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphic, Visualization and Imaging.

The system is controlled via a camera-mounted interface, through which the photographer indicates which direction he or she wants the light to come from, and the drone subsequently positions itself.

In the demonstration exercise, the photographer specified a thickness for the light’s rim width. The drone then automatically adjusted its position to maintain the same lighting conditions as the portrait subject moved and turned.

Image: The drone responds to the subject’s movements and turns in order to keep the lighting consistent

Manohar Srikanth, who worked on the system at MIT, said the drone would also be able to respond to the photographer’s movements in a similar manner.

Watch the demonstration video below:

For more technical details, check out MIT’s news post.