In the past, the cops charged into a long shootout, or used search and rescue teams, or uses firefighters to storm into the building to perform missions. Now, entire scenario has been changed with the help of a small softball-sized device, which has the ability to enter into an unknown place to snap the 360-degree panorama per second around the camera ball. In addition to that, the small softball-sized device will transmit the images wirelessly back into the smartphone device.
It is developed by Boston-based startup company, Bounce Imaging; the camera ball has been in development since 2012. The startup Boston Imaging has been built by an MIT Alumnus. The company comes up with this idea, 5 years ago during Haiti earthquake, since search and rescue efforts were much more difficult to precede with fiber-optic cameras.
Camera balls are there in the market already, but Explorer comes with a thick rubber shell, which offers durability for the device, and is mainly designed for emergency situations. About 100 of first Explorers will be shipped to the police departments globally, next week.
Bounce Imaging CEO Francisco Aguilar says,
“The VMS steered us right in many ways. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s good to have other people who are guiding you and counseling you. Our main focus is making sure the [Explorer] works well in the market. And then we’re trying to see what exciting things we can do with the image processing, which could vastly reduce computational requirements for a range of industries developing around immersive video.”
In the meanwhile, Explorer comes with an affordable price tag, and comes with six lenses, almost peeked out around 360 degree circumference, and also comes with LED light to illuminate the area. Also, it comes with WiFi hotspot, with image stitching software that removes noise in the image and makes image quality much better than most.
In future, the company is planning to add radiation, carbon monoxide and also temperature sensors in the upcoming models.
When Explorer was announced in 2012, media coverage (Wired, the BBC, NBC, Popular Science, and Time) praised the device as one of the best inventions of that time. The startup has also won top prizes at the 2012 MassChallenge Competition and the 2013 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge.
Bounce Imaging’s Explorer camera ball comes with a price tag of $1495, while the Tactical edition of Explorer comes for $2495. There are several accessories to this throwable bouncing camera, such as pole attachment, tether and vehicle/car charger for $20, $30 and $40, respectively.