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Eye charts for drones

posted by Sarah Pavis   Feb 15, 2013

Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG ruminates on optical calibration targets, weird landscape relics scattered across military bases made to check the resolution of cold war era photograph-snapping spy planes. You can find one target on Google Maps here.

Although I am truly fascinated by what sorts of optical landmarks might yet be developed for field-testing the optical capabilities of drones, as if the world might soon be peppered with opthalmic infrastructure for self-training autonomous machines, it is also quite intriguing to realize that these calibration targets are, in effect, ruins, obsolete sensory hold-overs from an earlier age of film-based cameras and less-powerful lenses. Calibrating nothing, they are now just curious emblems of a previous generation of surveillance technology, robot-readable hieroglyphs whose machines have all moved on.

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