Filmmaker Taps Unique Sensory Applications for Robots, Drones

UAVs, UUVs and UGVs are providing the ability to move cameras, microphones and other devices that sense in 3D space with almost no limitations.

Security robots of all shapes, sizes and technologies give us the ability to reach beyond what we can do as individuals in current time and space.

As a filmmaker, I use the camera and lens to capture new, differing perspectives or points of view by applying various angles, lenses and light. I use an array of microphones in the same way, giving different textures to the sound I record. It is only later, sitting in my very quiet edit room, reflecting on what I have captured, do I clearly see what the story is about.

From a visual perspective, most of us stand erect, have two eyes and see life from about 5 to 6 feet high off the ground. We can look up and down and in 360-degrees around us. We hear sounds, smell and feel our environment and the people around us. Our senses allow us to take in all aspects of our environment, streaming this information continuously to our brain, which processes all of this information into a story and a narrative. We believe the story because we saw it, we heard it and we felt it.

Humans are truly amazing creatures, but sometimes our ability to understand our environment is reduced to a single image, a sound or a single wonderful smell that catches our attention. Our powerful senses, as well as the impressions or our memory, can then change in an instant, reordering, recreating and distorting our recollection of an event. Add a dose of fear, frustration or anger to our minds, and we forget, confuse or change the story.

This has been proven over and over. Just put two people to the test and ask them to remember the same event and you will get two different stories from two different perspectives.

With new security technologies, like drones, UUVs and UGVs, we can take all the information provided by these same senses, and build them into robotics. Robots have no conscience, no morals and no feelings.   Our perspective, point of view and our rational brain is often clouded by fear, frustration or anger and in dangerous situations our primitive flight or fight automatic response kicks in. As we all know, when something overwhelming, scary or dangerous takes place around us, our brain’s survival response takes over.

We now have the ability to move cameras, microphones, and senses in 3D space with almost no limitations, giving us a vantage point and understanding over our environment that we’ve never had before. With the advent of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), there are no limitations to what, where and how we can see, hear and understand a series of events good or bad.

All of this information can be fed into computers that analyze not just the image for movement but can see the faces and identify them from millions of other similar individuals. They can identify sound and understand the distinct differences between what might be mistaken as a firecracker or a gunshot, a skill few of us poses.

Add to those technologies, long recording times, super high-resolution images, and ultra-high or low-frequency sound recordings and now we have a system more advanced than any individual human. These tools can create a story that can be captured, replayed and analyzed.  No longer are we stuck in one place trying our best to remember what we think happened.


Mark Brodie is President and Director of Films, MiB Mediaworks, a video production and media consulting firm. He is also a Robolliance Expert Sponsor. To learn more about security applications for robots and drones, visit Robolliance Expert Corner.

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