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Input Devices Technology

Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss 68

An anonymous reader writes "About 2 years ago, Jonas Pfeil, created a Throwable Panorama Ball: A rugged, grapefruit-sized ball with 36 fixed-focus, 2-megapixel digital camera sensors that capture simultaneously when thrown in the air, creating a full spherical panorama of the surrounding scene. Now, an Indiegogo campaign aims to produce the the camera (Now known as Panono) available for about $500. The quality of the sample images is impressive: the resolution is quite good and most importantly, the stitching artifacts are hardly visible."
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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

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  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @10:30AM (#45759597)

    Will it survive more than 1 hard landing
    Expensive for a 1 shot device

    • by koan ( 80826 )

      Expensive period.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @10:44AM (#45759671) Homepage

    All sorts of mischief will ensue from this. Thought it was bad enough guys taking cell phone pictures of girls' asses in line at McDonald's? How about ball-toss down-the-blouse shots? How about tossing it over fence level at your topless sunbathing neighbor?

    Where do I get one?

    • Where do I get one?

      All I thought of when I saw the title was the laser mapping spheres from Prometheus. Then I read (I swear.. well, at least tfs) and decided that the only appropriate use for this would be to mount it on an autonomous quad with lte and wifi.. and send it to the nude beaches.. Ahh I always love the slashvertising before Christmas, especially when accompanied by the warm thunk of camera grenades on the sand..

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      My thought was rolling it towards girls in short skirts.

    • Personally, I could see this being useful for easily making skyboxes for video games. The resolution could use some work, but it looks like a good start.
  • by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @10:46AM (#45759685)
    Two guys, one with a large backpack, are in the middle of an always very busy Time Square, NYC, NY. They look around, excitedly talking to each other. They stop, the back pack goes off and a big, rugged, grapefruit-sized ball is taken out. They are seen fumbling with it, like they are using some kind of activation mechanism. Then one of them is what looks like preparing to throw said ball in the air. The police officer, who had been observing the whole thing, takes immediate action!
    • by Zakabog ( 603757 )

      It's New York, NY not NYC, NY. NYC is all five boroughs where New York, NY is specifically Manhattan.

      Anyway, considering all of the weird shit the NYPD has to deal with on a daily basis I really don't see this being a problem. Two guys throwing a plastic ball around Times Square would be nothing, especially since the device seems to be targeted at hipsters and computer geeks. Plus, no one in NYC gets shot for being mistaken as a suicide bomber, it's only when you're mistaken for having a gun and that's not

  • What good is it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BUL2294 ( 1081735 )
    While a novel concept, I don't care to see what's happening "from the bouncy ball's point of view". Plus, unless you're in the Stellarcartography room from "Star Trek: Generations", you're only going to see a sliver of what's around you (given the limited nature of human vision), which will look like an even more dizzying version of the movie "Gravity"...
    • While a novel concept,

      360 degree panoramas have been around for 20+ years - this is just a new way of capturing them (and from previously inaccessible locations, such as 20 feet in the air).

      You make it sound like you've never seen one - or haven't understood how the ball is being used.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I made the same mistake as him from reading the summary: I thought the ball was taking some sort of video of being tossed around, which doesn't sound all that interesting. After going to the project's site, I realized it's taking 4 steradian panoramas at the height of the ball's arc, giving the entire field of view from that point (including up and down).

    • I have a friend who will want one; she uses them for 3D rendering. Conventional panorama capture can have problems, like object and cloud movement, while the photos are being taken; this eliminates the issue.

      I'd love to order one, but I have serious trust issues with Paypal and am not going to sign up just to join the campaign. I'll have to wait until it goes retail. Here's hopes the campaign succeeds!

      • I thought of that too - I don't know if something that's still done, but a lighting map for an environment can be obtained by taking a shot of a smooth mirrored ball - instant almost 360 degree map of the room's lighting (they did/do it on Doctor Who, dontchaknow). This ball could be a higher resolution, but equally instant, method.

  • by oneiron ( 716313 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @11:14AM (#45759825)
    I wonder how long before we'll have software to interpolate a series of images from the same area into a rendered scene.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Check out Microsoft's photosynth...not the panoramas, but the "synths" (I think they are calling them). They'll take images of the same location, from all different angles and zoom levels, find the matching points, and skew them to fit together. There was even a mode where they showed only the matching points, which for something with a ton of picturesâ"say the flickr archive of the Colosseumâ"was a 3D-like model. Very cool.

    • and shared with other streams to create a fully rendered scene, by using video streamed from multiple viewpoints, such as from a smartphone.
  • by DarwinSurvivor ( 1752106 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @11:17AM (#45759843)
    I'd be tempted to get one if the stitching algorithm could be run locally instead of on their cloud.
    • I'd be tempted to get one if the stitching algorithm could be run locally instead of on their cloud.

      You can get the single images from the camera and stitch with a third party tool if you like! You can also download the raw data/single images from the cloud at any time. Of course you can also export the stitched images. Cheers, Jonas

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @11:37AM (#45759961) Homepage

    You'll always have some yutz in the middle of your photo staring up at the camera with his hands in the air.

    • Na, you could just practice tossing it up without looking. Bigger questions: Do you have to catch it or is it rugged enough to land on the ground (more than once)? Will it float? If it is at all waterproof, I just might get one to float out in the water - at least some pics would be submerged and some above the water. That would be cool. I'd really love it if it were more or less bear proof, but from TFA it doesn't appear that armored.

      Come on guys, more details....

      Hmm... Must. Resist....

      • Na, you could just practice tossing it up without looking.

        Yep, that works. See here :) [] It is built to withstand many drops (it's a throwable camera after all). Not waterproof for the moment but should withstand a few drops of rain. Being able to go diving with it is on our wish list! Kind regards, Jonas

        • Thanks for the info. Got one on order. You all should work on a ruggedized military / police version - there is likely a big market for that sort of thing. Look at the GoPro. Bonus points for adding a tear gas canister or a launcher frame for Estes rocket engines.

          So many possibilities.....

    • Frankly, I think the biggest problem would be all the shots looking the same. What makes a good photo is the composition: it's what you choose to leave out as well as what you include. This ball is a one-trick pony and the photos it produces are bland.
      • Which is why Google Street View has been such an abject failure. It is not just art. There are other reasons to take a photograph.

    • What the hell, +5 Insightful? I was going for funny.

    • Goddammit. I opened the link in a new tab, having only briefly skimmed your post, and when I finally got around to the tab, stared at the image, read the words, saw nothing wrong, and wondered why you'd posted it.

      Then I finally came back, read the title, looked again at the image, and all clicked into place.

      And then I read the post text properly. Curse you!

  • Cannot wait to see what is possible when they do that with these cameras: []

  • Jonas from Panono here. We took the prototype up a rock spire in an awesome climbing area called "Elbe Sandstone Mountains" (actually free climbing was born here!). Check out the video: []
  • Wake me up when it is pitch-able, hit-able and the size of a baseball. It would make our "national pastime" exciting to watch.

    It might actually be easier to essentially embed this in a clear plastic soccer ball. You'd want to add a radio tx to stream the images out so you could have a "ball-cam" in the live feed. Maybe instant replay would be good enugh. With a spinning ball you'd need one hell of a fast shutter to cut out the blur.

    Kernel of a good idea worth a big pile of cash but they have a long way

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