Point, Throw, and Shoot: The Panoramic Ball Cam

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No longer will the flies and insects of the world mock humanity for lacking awesome compound eyes. Researchers at the Technische Universität in Berlin have leveled the playing field with a multi-sensor throwable camera that's able to snap a single 360 degree panoramic photo when it reaches its apogee.

In total the ball uses thirty-six two megapixel cellphone camera modules that are evenly distributed around a 3D printed spherical enclosure. It's also padded to encourage people to toss it around just like a toy, and to probably help it survive landings when it doesn't get caught. An accelerometer inside measures the launch acceleration when the ball is thrown, which is used to calculate when it will reach its apogee, at which point a single stitched photo is captured. The images can then be offloaded to a PC via a simple USB connection, where they can be enjoyed in all their 360 degree panoramic glory using a custom viewer.

The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera, as it's aptly named, has been in development since 2010. It started life as a research project, but has reached the point where its creators intend to show it off at Siggraph Asia 2011 in December. And hopefully find an investor who wants to make it a reality. Because besides being just a damn cool concept, the ball makes it way easier for novice photographers to capture panoramic images. Blurry photos are minimized since the exposure is taken when the ball is at its highest point and barely moving. And since all of the cameras fire at the exact same time, there's no ghosting issues where a subject may have moved between shots. [Jonas Pfeil via SlashGear]