Using 36 fixed-focus 2 megapixel mobile phone camera modules, the Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera is the brainchild of Jonas Pfeil, Kristian Hildebrand, Carsten Gremzow, Bernd Bickel, Marc Alexa at Computer Graphics Group, TU Berlin. The camera modules are mounted in a robust, 3D-printed, ball-shaped enclosure that is padded with foam and handles just like a ball.
The camera is thrown into the air and captures an image at the highest point of flight, when it is hardly moving. The camera takes full spherical panoramas, and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting artifacts and creates unique images and lets you take pictures from an angle that otherwise would be very hard to achieve.
The camera contains an accelerometer and this allows the measuring of the launch acceleration. Integration lets the system predict rise time to the highest point, where the exposure then is triggered. Pictures can after the flight be downloaded directly using a USB connection and viewed within seconds to the user. The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera will be be presented and demonstrated at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 event in December.
Panoramic photography creates fascinating images and wide angle images are closer to the human field of view than conventional pictures. Achieving panoramic images from a higher then normal elevation is something that up till now has only been possible by either the pro’s using cranes or rigging equipment, or for the amateur finding just the right spot from a balcony or similar. Taking a panoramic view of a city center as an example, has been nearly impossible for the average user. The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera might be just the solution we have been waiting for. If nothing else, it seems to be very enjoyable, playful way to take pictures.
Please also watch the video below: