When you think “throwable camera,” do you think: Just a gimmick, a toy, a fad?
It could be all those, but an MIT alumnus has actually made something incredibly useful out of it. Turns out, his throwable tactical camera, called the Explorer, is a life-and-death tool for police and first responders who need to know what’s hiding in collapsed buildings and other potentially hazardous areas.
The following video presents BounceImaging-P1:
- The Bounce Imaging Explorer – Tactical Throwable Cameras
The softball-sized Explorer is covered in a thick rubber shell, with a camera and sensors inside.
This camera has six lenses, peeking out at different indented spots around the circumference, 240W (white or near-infrared) LED lights to provide its own lighting, and built-in Wi-Fi. When activated, the six-lensed camera snaps photos from all lenses, a few times every second. These disparate images are then uploaded to a mobile device and fast algorithms developed by engineers at the Costa Rican Institute of Technology stitch the raw images together rapidly into full B&W panoramic images in a fraction of a second (at about 1 full 360-degree panorama per second). In the picture above, a policeman receives and views the photos on his wrist-strapped smartphone (compatible with Android and iOS) before deciding if it’s safe to enter the building. Transmission range is 20 m (60 ft) through a standard wall. The Explorer runs on 2 replaceable Li-ion batteries with battery life of 30 minutes at full flash intensity.
Bounce Imaging CEO Francisco Aguilar MBA ’12, invented and launched the Explorer commercially in 2012 with help from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). It will deploy 100 Explorers to police departments nationwide this July, with aims of branching out to first responders and other clients in the near future. Future plans include adding sensors for measuring radiation, temperature, and carbon monoxide.
via MIT News
This video (silent from o:oo to 1 min:34 sec mark) presents 2014120_BI_Explanation_Tests.
- Explanation of Technology and tests with police.