The Panono, a throwable ball camera that can take a 360 degree panoramic photo while in mid-air, has been put on Indiegogo to raise funds for development and manufacturing on a larger scale.
The spherical camera, which is 11 centimetres in diameter (4cm larger than a cricket ball) and weighs 300 grams, has 36 tiny cameras fixed to it, all of which contribute to a total resolution of 72 megapixels.
When the Panono is thrown into the air, an accelerometer inside the camera gauges the launch acceleration to calculate when the camera will be at its highest point, and therefore almost completely still. At this point, each of the 36 cameras simultaneously take a photo, creating a 360 degree panorama.
Thanks to the tough plastic that encases the camera, users can “ even drop it on occasion”, according to industrial designer Rianne Houba. For those who don’t want to take the risk, the camera can be pushed up into the air on top of a stick, or just held in the user’s hand, pressing a button to take the photo.
After the photo has been taken, it can be instantly viewed using the Panono app, which is available for iOS and Android. The app turns a smartphone into a 360 degree viewfinder of sorts – move the smartphone up, down and around to view the different parts of the panorama. Photos can also be viewed on a computer, “like a personal Google Street View”.
Two years ago, a video of an initial prototype of the Panono (then called “Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera”) was posted on YouTube, attracting almost three and a half million views. Now, those behind the Panono are trying to rekindle that excitement and ultimately cash in on it by taking the camera to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
The campaign started on November 12 and has already accumulated $96,000 of its $900,000 goal. A few of the panoramic photos taken by the Panono can also be found on the Indiegogo page.
If the necessary level of funding is obtained by January 4 next year, then the Panono could be available by September 2014. For those wishing to pre-order, the current price is $499 (£315).