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Throwable 36-Camera Ball Nearly Ready To Toss

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the make-your-own-google-car dept.

Input Devices 68

An anonymous reader writes "About 2 years ago, Jonas Pfeil, created a Throwable Panorama Ball: A rugged, grapefruit-sized ball with 36 fixed-focus, 2-megapixel digital camera sensors that capture simultaneously when thrown in the air, creating a full spherical panorama of the surrounding scene. Now, an Indiegogo campaign aims to produce the the camera (Now known as Panono) available for about $500. The quality of the sample images is impressive: the resolution is quite good and most importantly, the stitching artifacts are hardly visible."

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68 comments

Throwing is one thing (2, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#45759597)

Will it survive more than 1 hard landing
Expensive for a 1 shot device

Re:Throwing is one thing (2)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#45760575)

Expensive period.

Re: Throwing is one thing (-1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 4 months ago | (#45762975)

A $500 camera that doesn't have Facebook, twitter, email or games? 1999 called, they want their camera back, especially when I can do the same thing with any smartphone in a few seconds. Who is this marketed to? I can't think of any market that would pay $500 for this.

Re: Throwing is one thing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763323)

Yes, please. Throw that smartphone as hard as you can.

Re: Throwing is one thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763981)

I can think of quite a few very usefull applications for one of those, many of which certainly couldn't be done with a smartphone.

Most of them are questionable either ethically or legally, but useful nonetheless. I can also think of a few other pretty cool and mostly inacuous uses for one.

I'm sure if you use your imagination you could guess some of them :)

Re: Throwing is one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764011)

Can also think of quite a few interesting law enforcement and/or military type applications.

Both of the sort that could save the lives of innocent people and of the sort which could be pretty awful invasions of privacy by the user without the addition of strict usage regulations.

Online publishing / Possible use (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 4 months ago | (#45770073)

Uh... Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Tumblr, Twitter, E-mail or other photo albums/publishing service can actually already be used. The ball simply connects wirelessly [panono.com] to the users' smartphone (like for example the Go Pro cameras do already), the user then forwards the picture to the destination of choosing. That's the standard workflow of several other current cameras (Go Pro, as mentionned)

And wait for further product iteration to happen and the price will lower as production scale increases.

I can already see several fun possible uses.
Like taking picture of huge crowded outdoor events: you can snap instantly a picture of a music festival to capture the whole crowd ant the ambiance. The alternative would be using a quad-copter-mounted camera and flying it around to capture the whole experience (don't laugh, I've actually seen this exactly done this summer).
And if you want a big still image, the ball is still better than the quad-copter: it has a lot of cameras subdividing the space (36) all fired up at the same instant, meaning that the whole crowd will be seamlessly merged in to a huge panorama, without visible stichtes (whereas, with the drone, you either have a video, or a blurry/stiched panorama).
A phone would be completely useless (you need a high point of view) and again suffers from non-seamless panorama.

Another possible use: quickly taking clean panoramic picture of huge indoors.
Say you want a completely 360+ view of the inside of a cathedral.
You either quickly toss the ball (insta 360 view) or you need a complex setup with a fish-eye len and a pole-mount. (again, the POV needing to be in the middle of the architectural structure, phone aren't that much practical).

Or simply ease of use for taking conventional panoramas.
The ball can be simply handheld and takes an instant panorama,
whereas with a smart-phone you need to slowly take several shot (and thus risk of more aparent seams, due to motion of people/objects between shots.

Good Luck (1, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about 4 months ago | (#45759647)

Better hope Indiegogo likes your project or it will get buried and rendered invisible by about day three.

Crowdfunding sites do absolutely nothing to help indie projects get off the ground. They collect their cut while they make rude gestures, and that's it.

Frankly, I can't understand why anyone uses those sites. They're going to do all the work themselves. Why not keep all the money?

And I also don't believe for one fucking second that a bunch of clowns can put up a web page and raise $250,000 for a board game in four weeks. The fragrance coming off that shit makes my scam alarm strip naked and run into traffic.

Re:Good Luck (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 months ago | (#45759865)

Better hope Indiegogo likes your project or it will get buried and rendered invisible by about day three.

You have to get it noticed by other websites of course. Like Slashdot, for instance.

Crowdfunding sites do absolutely nothing to help indie projects get off the ground. They collect their cut while they make rude gestures, and that's it.

Crowdfunding sites are about the only reason why I pay those projects in the first place. If it's not on kickstarter or on indiegogo, your chances of getting my money are very close to 0.

Frankly, I can't understand why anyone uses those sites. They're going to do all the work themselves. Why not keep all the money?

For the project starter, it offers a way to host the information, communicate with contributors, and receive money. All those things take time to do on your own, and the people doing the project would rather spend time on it, and not on setting up Apache, web sites, and working out how to deal with card payments.

For the contributor, it offers a filter that rejects the obvious crap. Also provides an intermediary that helps me waste less of my money. If a random project needs $100K to be viable and I donate through paypal, if they only make $10K, I can't really expect to get my money back. On kickstarter, that is assured.

On the project's own site, they control the interaction. They can ignore annoying questions and pretend everything is going great. On sites like kickstarter and indiegogo they can't do that, and it works as a great indicator to potential contributors about whether there's anything fishy about the project.

And I also don't believe for one fucking second that a bunch of clowns can put up a web page and raise $250,000 for a board game in four weeks. The fragrance coming off that shit makes my scam alarm strip naked and run into traffic.

And that's precisely why kickstarter and indiegogo are so awesome. You see what the project wants upfront. You lose no money if the required amount is not reached. People digging into the details of the project can post about it, and you can read their warnings.

There is still considerable risk of course, but so far I've not seen anything better than this. It's certainly loads better than to just send money through paypal to some random person.

Re:Good Luck (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 4 months ago | (#45760283)

You have to get it noticed by other websites of course.

Right. You do all the work, Kickstarter cashes the checks.

There is still considerable risk of course

For everyone but Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Ask yourself this question: same guys that raise $250k on Kickstarter for a board game sell that board game on their own web site and make jack shit. Why? They do all the work and they bring their own audience to Kickstarter to make the contributions!

Kickstarter adds nothing to the project. Why does the cash register ring only on Kickstarter but not on the project's own web site?

Ain't got many rules in life, but one of the biggest is "if I can smell it, somebody shit it." 'nuff said.

Re:Good Luck (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 months ago | (#45762643)

Ask yourself this question: same guys that raise $250k on Kickstarter for a board game sell that board game on their own web site and make jack shit. Why?

Because of the reasons outlined in my previous post, and that I repeat below.

Kickstarter adds nothing to the project. Why does the cash register ring only on Kickstarter but not on the project's own web site?

If you're unable to read, or to comprehend what is written, what's the point of asking? I'll answer again, in case it sinks in this time: because kickstarter doesn't allow obviously bad projects, doesn't take my money if the project doesn't make enough, and isn't under the control of the project's owner, allowing tricky questions to remain visible to potential donors.

On the project's own site, none of those things are assured. There's no guarantee that a failed project will give me my money back, there's no guarantee that the people who run it will not pretend inconvenient questions aren't being asked, and there's no guarantee that the project achieved a minimum amount of planning to make sure it at least has some chance of succeeding.

Re:Good Luck (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 4 months ago | (#45766679)

because kickstarter doesn't allow obviously bad projects

Do you really want me to make a list of all the bullshit projects that have shown up on Kickstarter in the last few months?

There's no guarantee that a failed project will give me my money back

No guarantee that a successful project will ship anything either.

$700,000 for this?

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/zombicide [kickstarter.com]

My ASS

Re:Good Luck (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 months ago | (#45771111)

Do you really want me to make a list of all the bullshit projects that have shown up on Kickstarter in the last few months?

Sure, if it makes you happy.

No guarantee that a successful project will ship anything either.

According to the updates and comments of the project you linked, it shipped. Tsk.

$700,000 for this?

Well, when 5000 people buy something in the ~$100 and above dollar range, yes, the result is a lot of money.

What are you whining about, are you jealous?

Re:Good Luck (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 4 months ago | (#45771303)

Well, having earned a living in the real world, I know that getting 5000 people to part with $100+ in a 30-day period for a board game (lol) that nobody had ever heard of last month is a fragrant load of bullshit.

I don't care how much perfume you spray on it. I don't care what shape you mold it in to. It's bullshit.

In the real world, getting 5000 customers takes one hell of a lot of work. The idea that some jackass can shout "zombie game!" on some web site and raise nearly a million dollars in four weeks is BULLSHIT.

The end.

Re:Good Luck (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 months ago | (#45760593)

And that's precisely why kickstarter and indiegogo are so awesome. You see what the project wants upfront. You lose no money if the required amount is not reached. People digging into the details of the project can post about it, and you can read their warnings.

Indiegogo has a slightly slimier feeling option on their projects where the project gets to keep the money regardless of whether they meet their funding goal or not. If you are supporting a project on Indiegogo and this matters to you, be sure to check out the conditions on funding the project.

From Indiegogo's FAQ [indiegogo.com].

What if I don't reach my funding goal? If your campaign is set up as Flexible Funding, you will be able to keep the funds you raise, even if you don't meet your goal. If your campaign is set up as Fixed Funding, all contributions will be returned to your funders if you do not meet your goal. Flexible Funding campaigns that meet their goal are only charged 4% as our platform fee, whereas campaigns that do not meet their goal are charged 9%.

Re:Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763389)

Better hope Indiegogo likes your project or it will get buried and rendered invisible by about day three.

You have to get it noticed by other websites of course. Like Slashdot, for instance.

Like Slashdot? That's laughable. This site isn't that important. This article was posted at 9:30 this morning and it only has 50 comments at this point.

The sheep are busy bashing Micro$oft's time bomb.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Invalidator (444283) | about 4 months ago | (#45765303)

"If a random project needs $100K to be viable and I donate through paypal, if they only make $10K, I can't really expect to get my money back. On kickstarter, that is assured."

"You lose no money if the required amount is not reached."

Confused much?

Re:Good Luck (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 months ago | (#45765903)

No, you are. I'm talking about donations directly to a project through paypal, without an intermediary like kickstarter that offters the "money back" guarantee.

Re: Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763007)

You're right. I used a crowd funding website and loaded up all my credit cards just to get it to the funding threshold, they didn't care at all that the name donating the most was the same as the name of the person running the project. I am still paying on the debt, basically all I got from it was some publicity.

Re: Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763021)

Actually I'm wrong: I got a dozen copycats from the crowd funding. I will never crowd fund again.

Great, new selfies (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#45759671)

All sorts of mischief will ensue from this. Thought it was bad enough guys taking cell phone pictures of girls' asses in line at McDonald's? How about ball-toss down-the-blouse shots? How about tossing it over fence level at your topless sunbathing neighbor?

Where do I get one?

Re:Great, new selfies (2)

mordjah (1088481) | about 4 months ago | (#45759795)

Where do I get one?

All I thought of when I saw the title was the laser mapping spheres from Prometheus. Then I read (I swear.. well, at least tfs) and decided that the only appropriate use for this would be to mount it on an autonomous quad with lte and wifi.. and send it to the nude beaches.. Ahh I always love the slashvertising before Christmas, especially when accompanied by the warm thunk of camera grenades on the sand..

Re:Great, new selfies (2)

Black LED (1957016) | about 4 months ago | (#45760529)

Personally, I could see this being useful for easily making skyboxes for video games. The resolution could use some work, but it looks like a good start.

Re:Great, new selfies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45761315)

Who wants pictures of the asses of people who eat at McDonald's?

Re:Great, new selfies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45764115)

People who like big butts, and cannot lie?

DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (5, Insightful)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 4 months ago | (#45759685)

Two guys, one with a large backpack, are in the middle of an always very busy Time Square, NYC, NY. They look around, excitedly talking to each other. They stop, the back pack goes off and a big, rugged, grapefruit-sized ball is taken out. They are seen fumbling with it, like they are using some kind of activation mechanism. Then one of them is what looks like preparing to throw said ball in the air. The police officer, who had been observing the whole thing, takes immediate action!

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Zakabog (603757) | about 4 months ago | (#45759903)

It's New York, NY not NYC, NY. NYC is all five boroughs where New York, NY is specifically Manhattan.

Anyway, considering all of the weird shit the NYPD has to deal with on a daily basis I really don't see this being a problem. Two guys throwing a plastic ball around Times Square would be nothing, especially since the device seems to be targeted at hipsters and computer geeks. Plus, no one in NYC gets shot for being mistaken as a suicide bomber, it's only when you're mistaken for having a gun and that's not something that happens in Times Square.

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760023)

So long as we're being pedantic jackasses, is Times Square not within New York City?

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760665)

Times Square is in NYC, but saying Times Square, NYC, NY would be like saying - Empire State Building, Northeast, US. Yes the empire state building is technically in the Northeast US but you wouldn't write that as the address and no one says NYC, NY.

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760131)

Plus, no one in NYC gets shot for being mistaken as a suicide bomber, it's only when you're mistaken for having a gun and that's not something that happens in Times Square.

Oh really? Unarmed man shot at at 42nd St and 8th Ave: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/05/nyregion/unarmed-man-is-charged-with-wounding-bystanders-shot-by-police-near-times-square.html?_r=0 (And, being competent NYPD officers, they hit 2 bystanders, and not their target.)

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760713)

Like I said, he wasn't shot...

I'm surprised I didn't hear about that one since it was right up the street, but it wasn't suspected terrorist behavior that caused the shooting. It was an EDP that looked like he was pulling a gun. It's still very unlikely that some people pulling a plastic ball out of a bag will get shot at in Times Square considering that a suicide bomber will not take the bomb out of his bag and throw it up in the air when they can just throw the bag...

Re:DROP IT! DROP IT NOW! {Bang!} {Bang!} (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45786961)

The police meant to shoot that man, I think the fact that they missed and hit someone else is irrelevant.

then share your creations with your friends on.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759705)

POT (Personal Open Terminals). it could get messy as we attempt to see everything at once. bring lots of batteries.... free the innocent stem cells... seek help for heritage addiction abuse issues.... i'm getting one (cameraball) when they are .04 btc what a gig

What good is it? (1, Interesting)

BUL2294 (1081735) | about 4 months ago | (#45759757)

While a novel concept, I don't care to see what's happening "from the bouncy ball's point of view". Plus, unless you're in the Stellarcartography room from "Star Trek: Generations", you're only going to see a sliver of what's around you (given the limited nature of human vision), which will look like an even more dizzying version of the movie "Gravity"...

Re:What good is it? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45759917)

While a novel concept,

360 degree panoramas have been around for 20+ years - this is just a new way of capturing them (and from previously inaccessible locations, such as 20 feet in the air).

You make it sound like you've never seen one - or haven't understood how the ball is being used.

Re:What good is it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760655)

I made the same mistake as him from reading the summary: I thought the ball was taking some sort of video of being tossed around, which doesn't sound all that interesting. After going to the project's site, I realized it's taking 4 steradian panoramas at the height of the ball's arc, giving the entire field of view from that point (including up and down).

Re:What good is it? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 4 months ago | (#45760517)

I have a friend who will want one; she uses them for 3D rendering. Conventional panorama capture can have problems, like object and cloud movement, while the photos are being taken; this eliminates the issue.

I'd love to order one, but I have serious trust issues with Paypal and am not going to sign up just to join the campaign. I'll have to wait until it goes retail. Here's hopes the campaign succeeds!

Re:What good is it? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45761141)

I thought of that too - I don't know if something that's still done, but a lighting map for an environment can be obtained by taking a shot of a smooth mirrored ball - instant almost 360 degree map of the room's lighting (they did/do it on Doctor Who, dontchaknow). This ball could be a higher resolution, but equally instant, method.

Goes great with Oculus Rift... (3, Interesting)

oneiron (716313) | about 4 months ago | (#45759825)

I wonder how long before we'll have software to interpolate a series of images from the same area into a rendered scene.

Re: Goes great with Oculus Rift... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45759947)

Check out Microsoft's photosynth...not the panoramas, but the "synths" (I think they are calling them). They'll take images of the same location, from all different angles and zoom levels, find the matching points, and skew them to fit together. There was even a mode where they showed only the matching points, which for something with a ton of picturesâ"say the flickr archive of the Colosseumâ"was a 3D-like model. Very cool.

Re:Goes great with Oculus Rift... (1)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 4 months ago | (#45764335)

and shared with other streams to create a fully rendered scene, by using video streamed from multiple viewpoints, such as from a smartphone.

Cloud Rendering (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 4 months ago | (#45759843)

I'd be tempted to get one if the stitching algorithm could be run locally instead of on their cloud.

Re:Cloud Rendering (2)

jonaspfeil (3471317) | about 4 months ago | (#45760939)

I'd be tempted to get one if the stitching algorithm could be run locally instead of on their cloud.

You can get the single images from the camera and stitch with a third party tool if you like! You can also download the raw data/single images from the cloud at any time. Of course you can also export the stitched images. Cheers, Jonas

Great idea, but for one small problem (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45759961)

You'll always have some yutz in the middle of your photo staring up at the camera with his hands in the air.

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760071)

You my friend are assuming that normal people don't *suffer* from a god complex. This would actually seem very appealing to many of us.

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45760281)

Na, you could just practice tossing it up without looking. Bigger questions: Do you have to catch it or is it rugged enough to land on the ground (more than once)? Will it float? If it is at all waterproof, I just might get one to float out in the water - at least some pics would be submerged and some above the water. That would be cool. I'd really love it if it were more or less bear proof, but from TFA it doesn't appear that armored.

Come on guys, more details....

Hmm... Must. Resist....

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760687)

It is rugged enough survive "normal throwing height". But I wouldn't risk :)
To be on the safe side, you can always put it a tripod instead of throwing it.

Waterproof is on their wishlist, but no plans yet.

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (2)

jonaspfeil (3471317) | about 4 months ago | (#45761069)

Na, you could just practice tossing it up without looking.

Yep, that works. See here :) http://www.panono.com/v/1156/ [panono.com] It is built to withstand many drops (it's a throwable camera after all). Not waterproof for the moment but should withstand a few drops of rain. Being able to go diving with it is on our wish list! Kind regards, Jonas

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45761343)

Thanks for the info. Got one on order. You all should work on a ruggedized military / police version - there is likely a big market for that sort of thing. Look at the GoPro. Bonus points for adding a tear gas canister or a launcher frame for Estes rocket engines.

So many possibilities.....

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 4 months ago | (#45760441)

Frankly, I think the biggest problem would be all the shots looking the same. What makes a good photo is the composition: it's what you choose to leave out as well as what you include. This ball is a one-trick pony and the photos it produces are bland.

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760623)

Most photos are bland already! That's why we need instagram filters to make them interesting. Sad, right?

But the same way some photographers learned to make awesome compositions with traditional photography, I'm pretty sure someone will figure out really neat things to do with this new toy :)

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#45760953)

Which is why Google Street View has been such an abject failure. It is not just art. There are other reasons to take a photograph.

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760703)

It can be thrown, that's not the only way.
Take a look on this one:
http://www.panono.com/v/1769/

Re:Great idea, but for one small problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45763403)

That's OK. It kinda makes me feel like I'm being worshiped.

It's Christmas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45760197)

Stupid trinket. Buy one and throw it in the garage with the Hula-Hoop and your Nordic-Trac.

"produce the the camera" (1)

BrendaEM (871664) | about 4 months ago | (#45760339)

Aw, when writing it's is so easy to
to do this.

http://customerinnovations.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/paris-in-the-the-spring.jpg [wordpress.com]

Re:"produce the the camera" (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45761161)

Goddammit. I opened the link in a new tab, having only briefly skimmed your post, and when I finally got around to the tab, stared at the image, read the words, saw nothing wrong, and wondered why you'd posted it.

Then I finally came back, read the title, looked again at the image, and all clicked into place.

And then I read the post text properly. Curse you!

Google Sky View? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45761519)

I just hopped over to the site and saw a octocopter with one attached. I'm surprised Google hasn't gone to the sky...er...troposphere, yet.

Good idea but it could be improved. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45761723)

If you took this concept and made it into a chair, Steve Balmer would probably be a very happy man!

And the next Google Mapping project is... (1)

heretic108 (454817) | about 4 months ago | (#45763265)

...Google Balls!

Re:And the next Google Mapping project is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45791697)

-- In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was UNSIGNED, and the main(){} was without form and void...

The main() should return int, not void.

Throwable.. blah (1)

jwkane (180726) | about 4 months ago | (#45763863)

Wake me up when it is pitch-able, hit-able and the size of a baseball. It would make our "national pastime" exciting to watch.

It might actually be easier to essentially embed this in a clear plastic soccer ball. You'd want to add a radio tx to stream the images out so you could have a "ball-cam" in the live feed. Maybe instant replay would be good enugh. With a spinning ball you'd need one hell of a fast shutter to cut out the blur.

Kernel of a good idea worth a big pile of cash but they have a long way to go.

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