Throw The Explorer Into Inaccessible Areas To Get A Fast Panoramic Image of What’s Inside

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Most panoramic cameras are being geared towards consumers, allowing users to take 360-degree images of any scene they want to capture. The Explorer, however, is aimed towards more tactical uses, giving police squads and rescue teams a way to easily survey hazardous area without putting any lives in danger.

Created by Bounce Imaging, it’s a small ball with six camera lenses that’s designed to be tossed into an area, where it will snap photos, automatically stitch them into panoramic imagery, and allow teams to study the layout before sending any personnel in. Whether for rescuing survivors in collapsed buildings, raiding a hideout for suspicious elements, or making sure a location is clear before coming in, this thing should find plenty of use in tactical missions across many settings.

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The Explorer measures around the size of a duckpin ball, so it can fit inside reasonably narrow areas, making it possible for rescue personnel to check underneath a rubble. It comes with built-in LEDs to illuminate dark areas, along with onboard WiFi for creating a hotspot where nearby devices can connect to access the camera’s captures. The six lenses will each snap multiple photos per second, which are immediately uploaded to a connected mobile device, where the onboard software will rapidly stitch them into full panoramic images that personnel can use for reconnaissance. A team from the Costa Rican Institute of Technology developed the image-stitching software, which can complete a panoramic image in a fraction of a second, giving the team immediate access to what the camera sees inside.

Bounce Imaging will distribute an initial batch of 100 Explorers to police departments across the US, with succeeding batches coming out soon after. Pricing starts at $1,495.

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2 Responses

  1. Ben Hoskins

    I wonder which police departments will get these first. I think these balls would be put to good use in rescuing the victims in hurricanes, earthquakes, explosions, and other rescue situations.

    I hope once this company gets off the ground, they will help the people around the world who are affected by disasters. After the initial round for the police, they can send some out to rescuers and EMT departments.

    I wonder how many of these things are going to get lost once they’ve been tossed into an unseeable spot. It’s like a bowling ball camera. I’d be tempted to throw one down the lane. haha. Congrats to the Costa Rican Tech Institute!

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  2. Anna

    This is really incredible and shows you how far technology has come with imaging devices. I especially like how it has WiFi capabilities–very neat! I see they used a tactical officer image in the demo-image, which makes a lot of sense. For sensitive scenarios, this ball will most likely go a very long way. Question though, can it be recalled to it’s original position or to the sender safely? For example, to avoid it being detected or destroyed. Is there any way at all to remotely control the device, or do you literally just get one throw and chance at snapping images everywhere you need it to be done at? If this is the case, I think many governments and law enforcement agencies will find more beneficial the current technology they have with camera sticks and literal robot devices. What about a remote-controlled nano camera-device to send and recall for such scenarios? $1,500 is a steep, steep price and I feel like this technology has been deprived of essential features for purpose.

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