Date:15 November 2011
German computer engineer Jonas Pfeil and colleagues have come up with a new take on aerial photography – a foam sphere equipped with 36 cellphone cameras that’s tossed into the air to capture a panoramic picture of its surroundings. Watch the video to catch the Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera…
Hold on… won’t this produce blurred images? Not at all: as its designers explain, their “throwable panoramic camera” captures images at the apogee of its flight – that is, when the ball is hardly moving. Says Pfeil, a graduate from the Technical University of Berlin: “The camera takes full spherical panoramas, requires no preparation, and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting (effects), and creates unique images.”
The 2-megapixel fixed-focus camera modules are mounted inside a robust, 3D-printed, ball-shaped enclosure that’s padded with foam and handles just like a ball. The ball contains an accelerometer that measures launch acceleration, whereafter the software calculates the optimum trigger point. After the thrower catches the descending ball, the images are downloaded via USB and displayed on a spherical panoramic viewer that comes bundled with the camera. As with Google’s Street View, the viewer allows you to pan and zoom.
Sadly, the camera ball is not yet commercially available.