Another Wavelength: Will Reynolds

March 24, 2022
Will Reynolds

This week in Another Wavelength, we chat with Junior, undergraduate student Will Reynolds. Will is working as a research assistant for Professor Ron Driggers.  

Where are you from?

I am from Scottsdale, AZ.

What brought you to study optics?

I originally came to the University to study one of the basic engineering disciples, not knowing anything about the Optics Department, I didn't even know it existed. But one day, I ran into Dr. Mike at a networking event, where I discovered the Wyant College of Optical Sciences. I was so fascinated with the crazy potential this field had to offer. I can do almost anything and still have fun with it as a career! On top of that, the field combines my passion for photography. At the time, I was starting to understand how I can control the distortions in my images with a long shutter time and a controlled light source. I knew this was the right field for me on the spot!

Who is your hero in science?

Good question, I don’t have a single person I look up to. I mainly like certain aspects of who I look up to. Such as Bill Nye, I appreciate that he can make higher-level science concepts, make sense for a young audience. The reason I like this is that he is going out of his way to educate and expose young kids to the STEM world. I want to do something like that but with optics, so we could expose more people to this field.

Describe your research in 20 words or fewer.

I design camera systems for drones to acquire Wide Area Coverage in different infrared bands. 


Describe your research in 200 words or fewer.

I am an undergraduate research assistant, under Dr. Driggers. The area I am assisting in is with Drone Wide Area coverage. Which covers the visible spectrum, but now mainly the infrared spectrum. Here we are seeing how we can cover more ground but still have good object recognition in the images.

We do this by using multiple cameras at different angles to get the data we need while maintaining good image quality. Currently, we are moving towards having up to 6-8 cameras on one system that will fly on one of our drones.

This is where I come in. I design the systems that will hold all of the parts together. I make sure I can have the system compact, easy to assemble, and make sure the system is sturdy. Especially now where I am entering the realm where some of the parts cost more than my tuition. So I don’t want these systems to go up in smoke. So I do my best to make sure the systems can keep the parts safe but also easy to use. I’ll do whatever I can to help the graduate students I work with.

Name three neat facts about you.

  1. I work on developing my long exposure photography skills, while also taking mental notes on how to do certain styles or effects with my gear such as my light bar, which I use to paint any image I desire onto my image in the shot. I see this part of photography untouched, which is where I get excited. I feel like I’m the first to discover how to use optic concepts in this way to create something beautiful, without using Photoshop. I pride myself on not using Photoshop because if I did it once, people would probably not believe any of the images are real.
  2. I am slowly working on creating an RGB LED light circuit system that can fit into something the size of a pen, to aid in my photography, and possibly sell to other people if they want to do photos as I do.
  3. I got to go through the Panama canal as a kid.