Throwable Ball Camera Captures 360 Degree Panoramas

For everyone who has stitched a few photos together in Photoshop and called it a panorama, here is how you take it to the next level. Jonas Pfeil, a student at of the Technical University of Berlin has taken one part camera array and one part Nerf toy and combined them into a throwable camera.  Mind you, throwing is not just optional – it is required in order to fire the camera.  Based on the force with which the ball is thrown upwards, an accelerometer initiates simultaneous firing of 36 cameras at the apex of the ball flight. The array of images can later be downloaded and stitched into a 360 degree panorama.

Since the cameras are 2 megapixel cell phone cameras, the camera ball could presumably be produced fairly inexpensively.  And since cell phone cameras have been engineered to survive dropping (how many times have you dropped your phone?), catching the ball is not as critical as you might think.  But you can’t get your hands on one yet – Pfiel’s team is still looking for investors.

So what on earth would you do with such a camera? Consider a top down panoramic image of your family at the next family reunion.  Or an amazing vista from the edge of the Grand Canyon.  But what we’re really waiting for is for one of these photographic buckeyballs to be fired from a catapult.

Whatever the fate of this device, one thing is for sure – this had to be one of the funnest master’s thesis projects ever. See it in action in the video below.

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  1. I wonder if Jonas develop it further into a canon ball and shoot it higher in the sky, and see the result of speed and more bird eye view.