Robotic Tennis Ball Camera Helps First Responders View Treacherous Areas
'Bouncing Image' has developed an inexpensive device that captures 360 degree images of wherever it is thrown, multiple times a second.
Emergency responders such as firefighters and police are often faced with the dilema of needing to get into a building as quickly as possible, but not knowing whether it is safe for them to go inside. Boston-based company Bouncing Image has come up with an inexpensive and simple solution to this problem.
The device contains six cameras, and when the ball is thrown in to an unknown area the cameras take two photographs per second and wirelessly transmits them back to a laptop. Software is then able to re-stitch the images in the a full 360-degree panoramic image. The device can even capture images in poorly lit rooms using infared LED’s.
Bounce founder Francisco Aguilar says the idea came to him after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. He saw the need for a reconnaissance device that could be used in environments like the damaged buildings of Port-au-Prince. Aguilar has plans to develop additional models which include a Geiger counter and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) detector, as well a firefighting model equipped with smoke, alcohol, and oxygen sensors.
The device is still in the prototype stage, but it should be ready for testing in the field by the beginning of 2013.