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Are these used for position tracking? Are there any papers

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  • $\begingroup$ According to a drone enthusiasts forum, grey balls are utilized as a tracking marker. Unfortunately, it won't solve existing problems but create new ones. If the high speed camera has recognized the position of the drone, the next step is parse the data on a semantic level for example to recognize if the pilot has flown a left curve or a right one. $\endgroup$ – Manuel Rodriguez Aug 28 '19 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ "Unfortunately, it won't solve existing problems but create new ones" Sorry, but that is wrong. It perfectly solves the problem of exactly knowing where your drone is. What you do with the data afterwards is not a problem of the Mocap. It's like saying drones create the huge problem of having to control a flying object. $\endgroup$ – FooTheBar Aug 29 '19 at 8:36
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These are markers for a visual Motion Capture system. Buy some markers here Most MoCap systems work by setting up multiple cameras with strong IR-Flashes and IR-Cameras and the surface of the balls are optimized to reflect the specific wavelength. The cameras then almost only see the markers and can use triangulation to compute their position.

As at least the last image was capture at ETH Zurich (specifically the Polyterasse), they likely used their Vicon tracking system. Note that they captured the data on a cloudy day as direct sunlight also contains IR and could compromise the MoCap. However, you normally set up the MoCap cameras in a full circle around your working area to improve accuracy and have a lower probability of occluded markers. So it's also possible that there was no MoCap and just a photo session.

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