Saturday, October 22, 2011

Have a Ball with your Camera!

Jonas Pfeil, a student at the Technical University of Berlin, has invented a device that takes a complete spherical, panoramic photograph - something not possible before due to the camera tripod or mount. Even if you had enough cameras and the right software, you would still have the problem of a tripod or camera mount blocking one angle. His solution? A rubber ball camera which you just toss in the air as it snaps 36 photos simultaneously.

From his website :

Our camera uses 36 fixed-focus 2 megapixel mobile phone camera modules. The camera modules are mounted in a robust, 3D-printed, ball-shaped enclosure that is padded with foam and handles just like a ball. Our camera contains an accelerometer which we use to measure launch acceleration. Integration lets us predict rise time to the highest point, where we trigger the exposure. After catching the ball camera, pictures are downloaded in seconds using USB and automatically shown in our spherical panoramic viewer. This lets users interactively explore a full representation of the captured environment.

We used the camera to capture full spherical panoramas at scenic spots, in a crowded city square and in the middle of a group of people taking turns in throwing the camera. Above all we found that it is a very enjoyable, playful way to take pictures.

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