Shootouts, burning buildings and search and rescue missions. One of the biggest challenges for each of these situations is knowing what you are up against. Bounce Imaging has the answer, and it looks like a softball with cameras attached to it.
Next month, the Boston-based startup will launch their first line of tactical camera balls. Each is equipped with cameras and sensors that can be thrown into a hazardous area and instantly send panoramic images back to a smartphone.
“It basically gives a quick assessment of a dangerous situation,” says Bounce Imaging CEO Francisco Aguilar.
The tactical sphere, called Explorer, sports a camera with six lenses looking out of a thick rubber shell. When the Explorer is tossed, it snaps photos from all six lenses several times a second. LED lights help illuminate the immediate area. The software then uploads the images to a mobile device and quickly puts them together to form panoramic images.
Watch it action.
Explorer was initially developed with first responders in mind, but police departments soon started calling after learning of the device.
In fact, Aguilar’s inspiration for Explorer came during the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Traditional imaging solutions for disaster zones include fiber-optic cameras. One of the problems with fiber-optic cameras is they are too expensive. Aguilar told MIT News he “started looking into low-cost, very simple technologies to pair with your smartphone, so you wouldn’t need special training or equipment to look into these dangerous areas.”
Aguilar and Bounce Imaging plan to add additional features to future models including radiation, temperature and carbon monoxide sensors.
Bounce Imaging also has several accessories including a pole attachment and a tether for retrieving the Explorer.
So, you want one? You better have some ‘what the hell’ money laying around. The Explorer costs $1,495. The sweet tactical edition in the video above? Add another grand.