Google Streetview Cars Rocking Ladybug2 Spherical Camera

Click to viewWe've noticed small red cameras up on the top of those Chevy Cobalt camera cars gathering pictures from coast to coast for Google Streetview, and now an astute tipster has shown us which cameras those are: the Ladybug2 by Point Grey Research. It's a spherical digital camera, and a tantalizing tidbit of information is that the thing shoots video at 30 frames per second, and with nice, big 1024x768 frames, too.

Does this mean that Google is shooting video, not just stills of every street of the United States? Well, it would make sense, because those cars are already roaming the streets—might as well go ahead and get relatively high-resolution video and not just still photographs.

This camera grabs its video with five CCDs facing in all directions as well is one pointing straight up, letting it snag 75% of the full sphere. Then it sends its video via 1394 to a compressor unit that's able to stream those images at 30 frames per second. [Point Grey Research] (Thanks, Clem Taylor!)