Press: Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera
'This is more than a panoramic view, it’s a whole new experience. [...] The possibilities are endless! That's why we're asking the “people” involved in this project [...] to make it happen! Make it happen now!' — Slashgear, Chris Burns, 2011-10-13
'This looks like the funnest thing to hit amateur photography since the Flip camera. [...] I watched five seconds of the video and my hands were itching to play with it. (Alas, it’s not for sale--yet.)' — Fast Company, John Pavlus, 2011-10-18
'The result is somewhat akin to Google Street View, only more spectacular. [...] I’d love to play with this.' — Wired, Charlie Sorrel, 2011-10-14
'[...] a portable Google Streetview cam for specific applications. [...] every geek in the world is asking, “How much and where can I get it?”' — geek.com, Ray Walters, 2011-10-15
'As with Google’s Street View, the viewer allows you to pan and zoom. Sadly, the camera ball is not yet commercially available.' — Popular Mechanics, 2011-11-15
Our Press Images
The following high resolution images are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license. You can use them freely but you have to include a reference to "Jonas Pfeil" and this webpage (http://jonaspfeil.de/ballcamera).
Photos showing the Ball Camera
Panoramas made with the Ball Camera
- Brandenburg Gate, Berlin (screenshots of our viewer)
- Group of people, Elbe Sandstone Mountains (note the flying banana that was thrown alongside the camera)
News Agency Material
Reuters has some photos and video material available. Searching for "Jonas Pfeil" in their database should work.
Our Press Video
The following text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license.
Panoramic photography creates fascinating images. Very wide angle images are closer to the human field of view than conventional pictures. If seen through a panoramic viewer they let us experience a location as if we were there. Panoramic image stitching can create panoramas from pictures taken one after another. Unfortunately, acquiring the images takes a lot of time and moving objects may cause ghosting. It is also difficult to obtain a full spherical panorama, because the downward picture cannot be captured while the camera is mounted on the tripod.
In this work, we present a throwable panoramic camera that solves these problems. The camera is thrown into the air and captures an image at the highest point of flight - when it is hardly moving. The camera takes full spherical panoramas, requires no preparation and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting artifacts and creates unique images.
Our camera uses 36 fixed-focus 2 megapixel mobile phone camera modules. The camera modules are mounted in a robust, 3D-printed, ball-shaped enclosure that is padded with foam and handles just like a ball. Our camera contains an accelerometer which we use to measure launch acceleration. Integration lets us predict rise time to the highest point, where we trigger the exposure. After catching the ball camera, pictures are downloaded in seconds using USB and automatically shown in our spherical panoramic viewer. This lets users interactively explore a full representation of the captured environment.
We used the camera to capture full spherical panoramas at scenic spots, in a crowded city square and in the middle of a group of people taking turns in throwing the camera. Above all we found that it is a very enjoyable, playful way to take pictures.