Ball-camera that you toss in the air for a 360° panorama

Jonas Pfeil's "Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera" sports 36 cameras and contains firmware that stitches their output together to form a global panorama; you throw it into the air and at the top of its arc, it takes a snap and processes it.

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)



  1. Interesting that the cameras don’t seem to be evenly distributed on the ball. I’d’ve expected 32 cameras in a face-centred truncated icosahedron arrangement.

  2. Too cool! Do I get extra points for envisioning this as part of a superhero’s arsenal? A golf ball sized camera that when thrown up could detect threats and send information back to our hero?

    1. I was thinking that it might make a handy tactical sensor for the military. But they’d probably fit it with low-light-level TV, infra-red, stereoscopic sensors and the whole thing would weigh 200lbs and come with its own motorised transport and flinger/catcher mechanism.

    1. That’s ok, @lemoutan:disqus , you just have to watch the right kind of television!  This lovely lovely is quite like the kino from Stargate:Universe.

      And plus one WANT please now thanks.

      @Warren_Terra:disqus , I’d work on that idea! It sounds immensely doable.  Wouldn’t you love to see that helmet on someone like Danny McAskill?  Yum.

  3. Interesting, but I’d be more interested in a sort of personal streetview system. Imagine a multiple camera setup at head height on a tripod or a helmet, able to determine its orientation from a compass and able to determine its relative position as you move it through a property taking pictures. The relative position could be determined using inertial sensors, using image analysis to  identify landmarks that have “moved” since the last image was taken, or using location referents placed by the user (the scale would probably be too fine for GPS, and the obvious uses would be indoors where GPS is unreliable). You could probably create such a system for not all that much money (too much to casually buy it, but little enough to rent it affordably) and then you could use it to create a streetview-like explorable virtual space from anyplace you wanted. Grandma’s house, for example, for the kids. Or, less cheerfully, document a crime scene. That, I’d love to see.

    1. I was going to snark “Can I strap this to the top of my car”?  but you sort of beat me to it.  Using this camera as a personal StreetView system would be a great application.  It could also be used by business who want to show off their space.

    2. For accidents on the highway at rush hour,  spending less time documenting a crime scene translates into real productivity gains for those stuck in traffic.

  4. First, every posh home will have a dome room for projecting vacation slides and panoramic mood scenes.  Coral reef and dolphin pod yoga centers will be the new rage.  Can panoramic motion pictures  be far behind? 

  5. Reminded me of an idea that I had once where you could throw your camera up in the air so you could find out how far away the bus/streetcar was from your stop.  Ah, the things you think up while waiting….

  6. The possibilities are endless… build it inside the disco-ball, live feed to the internet… inside transparent beachball at a concert (or even the beach).  Trailing from a weather balloon, from a kite.  Shoot one from one of those t-shirt cannons.  Rapid sequence shots to build 3d model.

    But my mind keeps coming back to one thing…


    (How can trebuchet not be in the spelling dictionary for chrome?)

  7. I *swear* I’ve been talking about this for years as the ‘next step in photographing’… if you think of the evolution of photography from a pre-arranged setting and standing still posing – to ‘candid’ snapshots taken at will, and from a still ‘cropped’ image to the panoramic 360… the only way it made sense was to throw something up in the air that could catch the action instantaneously.

    But this is also exactly the reason I’ve given up on writing sci-fi. Reality is catching up faster than I seem to be able to ‘dream up’ new stuff.

    Kudos though – I love it that it’s finally happening! woop woop! :D

  8. This pedantic comment was missing:

    That should be called a 4π steradian panorama, not a 360º panorama.

    Boingboing snobby-points!

  9. This needs to be able to take 3 shots in quick succession, in 3 exposures for HDR.  Otherwise, you’ll get pretty shabby VR’s unless it’s pretty cloudy.

  10. Yikes, the white balance/color on those is HORRIBLE.  Software needs to compensate for that a little better. Other than that, pretty damn cool.

  11. That’s a cool invention for sure.

    On another note, does anyone know what the song at the end of the video is? I see that they’ve said what it is in the credits but I cannot find it anywhere online. Please help!

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