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Robotic Cameras Will Snap Pictures at the 2012 Olympics
Getty Images will be using cameras with robotic heads to more easily obtain pictures where photographers aren't allowed.
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed Jul 10, 2012

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Cameras with swiveling, nimble robotic heads will be deployed by photographers who work for Getty Images, the official agency of the International Olympics Committee. The robotic heads will be perchedon scaffolding above several of the sporting sites. The photographers themselves will be stationed below with what one Getty photographer described as a “joystick” to control the movement of the camera head — and click.

“The camera is not thinking for us,” is how Shaun Botterill, the London-based chief sports photographer, put it. “The photographer is still there trying to get the picture he wants.” Still, he said, “it’s a big leap forus.”

The robotic camera heads can be perched in places where photographers are not allowed — on therafters, for instance, since access at the London Games is especially restricted — and swivel 360 degrees to make aerial pictures where necessary. The images they capture can be transmitted instantly. Television cameras have been mounted like this in the past, but this is a first for still photography.

The New York Times will not use them, in part because of cost.

If they work during the Olympics, Getty reckons they could work in other places where human photographers find it difficult to position themselves, like operating theaters or in the wild.

“You see this technology developing because of a lack of access,” Mr. Botterill said. “Next thing for us is, where do you go with it?”

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, hitched with cameras have already been used to capture aerial footage of protests in Poland. And a project at the University of Nebraska is exploring ways to usedrones in journalism.

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