Drones make their catwalk debut at Milan Fashion Week

Drones have begun to sneak into our lives in many ways, but until now they have not found their way into fashion. That changed yesterday when luxury fashion house Fendi used a drone to provide fans with coverage of their fall/winter 2014-15 collection.

The collection, which was showcased at Milan Fashion Week, was viewable live from Fendi’s website via two streams: one a professionally shot and cut stream and one a rather shaky, fuzzy feed from the drone.

A partnership between Fendi and Google, the drone stream felt more like a proof-of-concept than an impressive technological showcase, but received a surprisingly positive response from both fans and industry professionals alike.

For avid fashion fans wishing they were actually at the show, it seems that the drone did a better job of conveying the atmosphere than the regular video feed.

Writing in fashion mag Birdee, Chloe Sargeant explained: “The drones flew over models’ and guests’ heads, giving an online audience a birds eye view of each look front and back, as well as the venue, runway and vibe of the entire show.”

But it seems to be more about the concept of drones than the reality of what they produced.

The Guardian quoted Lowe & Partners trend forecaster Zoe Lazarus explaining this phenomenon: “Drones feel edgy and futuristic – they appeal to that vision of a cyborg future. Creatively they are brilliant, because they can be manoeuvred into places where people can’t.

“This is a bit of a coup for Fendi… Live streams have become quite standard now at fashion shows, so this is a way to up the ante and get social media coverage.”

While the video quality wasn’t fantastic, the Fendi show could mark the start of drones being used to cover exclusive events with large public followings.

Concerts and festivals could make use of drones to provide new video coverage options for fans, and drones could even find their way onto sports grounds to provide new camera angles for avid fans.

But as is often the case, this could well become a premium service, particularly in sports such as football where teams are looking to generate as many additional revenue streams as possible.

Whether paid-for or free, drone-generated streams will have to improve considerably if they are to reach a level of mass appeal among fans and consumers. For now, they remain a gimmick to be utilised by companies looking to boost their media coverage.


Image courtesy of Fendi.


Google’s plan to 3D map the inside of your house using your mobile phone

Google maps and street view has already changed the way we navigate the world around us but now its mission is to 3D map what we can see, using mobile phones, as we see it.

It has build a 5” prototype phone with customised software and hardware which can build a real-time 3D map of wherever you point the phone.

Project Tango, an international collaboration, is aiming to give mobile devices an understanding of the space we live in, as well as the motions it is possible to make.

There are thousands of potential applications for the software and hardware which, include those that will solve simple everyday problems to those which will improve the lives of others.

One possibility is being able to see where products are located in large supermarkets by using a real-time map on your phone.

Google hopes the technology will be able to create a better living environment which is more connected. It says possible uses for the developments will include being able to map the homes of the visually impaired and provide them with directions to help their mobility.

Sensors in the phones, developed by the search giant, make more than 250,000 3D measurements every second and while doing so update the position of the phone and create a map of the environment.

The phone runs Android software and includes development API information, with which Google is encouraging developers to create their own apps and uses for the software.

The team behind Project Tango have been working with universities, research labs and industrial partners to help harvest ten years of research from robotics and computer vision to concentrate the technology into a mobile phone. So far the team has included partners from across the world.

Johnny Chung Lee, the project lead at Google’s ATAP said: “We are physical beings that live in a 3D world yet mobile devices today assume that physical world ends at the boundaries at the screen.

“Our goal is to give mobile devices a human scale understanding of space and motion.

“We have created a prototype phone containing highly customised hardware and software designed to allow the phone to track its motion in full 3D in real-time as you hold it.”

tango2-credit-google

At present 200 prototype development kits have been created and Google has already allocated some of these devices for projects in the areas of indoor navigation, single/multiplayer gaming and new algorithms for processing sensor data.

It is calling for professional developers to take control of the other devices and help to build more than a touch-screen application and say it expects to have allocated all its devices by the middle of March.

If you would like to receive one of the developer kits you can apply to Google directly.


Images and video courtesy of the Google’s Project Tango.