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´╗┐camera ball takes perfect panorama photos

Jonas Pfeil, a student from the Technical University of Berlin has created a rugged, grapefruitsized ball that has 36 fixedfocus, 2megapixel digital camera sensors built in. The user simply throws the ball into the air and photos are simultaneously taken with all 36 cameras to create a full, spherical 360degree? panorama of the surrounding scene.

The basic premise for the project is that taking panoramic images using a conventional still camera is a bore: you either need special hardware and software, like the GigaPan system, or you have to painstakingly shoot the photos and arrange them yourself when you get back home. The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera it doesn seem to have a nickname automatically takes 36 photos when it at the highest point of its trajectory, and it comes with a panoramic image viewer that displays the images as a pannable, zoomable sphere that you can move around; a lot like Google Street View.

The ball itself is made with a 3D printer, and the innards which include 36 STM VS6724 CMOS camera sensors, an accelerometer, and microcontrollers to control the cameras are adequately padded, so presumably it doesn matter if you suck at throwing and catching. You can see from the video below that the ball is too big but not too heavy for singlehanded use but considering this is the work of a master degree student, it safe to assume that the same hardware could be miniaturized into something like a tennis ball. It seems like every camera has independent exposure control, too, which in this case isn necessarily a good thing; notice how some fragments of the panoramas are different colors.

Still, the Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera which will be demonstrated at in December is an utterly fantastic idea and you can imagine how it could revolutionize everything from holiday snaps, to wedding photos, to playful photos of children at play. There also the added bonus that if you alone, the photo will always have your grinning, supplicating mug at the bottom and if you ever traveled alone, you know how hard it can be to take a good selfportrait in a busy location. Imagine what it would be like if you combined the panoramic ball with the Israeli launcher hostileenvironment camera system, too no word on when the ball might come to market, but the first words on the project website are PENDING, so presumably Jonas at least has the intention of licensing the design. Excitingly, the ball components are very cheap; it could have a retail price of under $100.