Technology Tuesday: Eye Ball

In the future you could take a 360 degree panorama view rather than using photo shop software to construct a 360 degree panorama view.  With the Eye Ball, you can do just that.

The ball is constructed with an outer and inner shell, a power source, and a microcontroller.  The outer shell diameter is approximately the size of a softball and is protected by foam blocks.  There are 36 cell phone camera (2MP each) are located along the surface.  The inner shell is printed using a 3-D printer with a strong, flexible nylon material.  The power source is located at the center of the sphere because it is a rather heavy lithium-polymer battery.  The microcontroller determines when the cameras are triggered from an accelerometer.  The controller stores the images.  The current prototype has the capacity to store one mosaic of photos.

When a person tosses the Eye Ball towards the sky, an accelerometer inside the foam ball determines when the ball reaches its maximum height.  Once the ball reaches its maximum height, 36 cameras are triggered simultaneously, and creates a mosaic that can be downloaded and viewed on a computer as one spherical panoramic image.

The ball was created by researchers at the Technische Universität Berlin.  The lead researcher, Jonas Pfeil, hopes to license the camera-ball technology for commercial production.

A microcontroller uses data from an accelerometer to determine when to trigger the cameras. Then it stores the resulting mosaic of images. The prototype can store one mosaic, but it has a hardware slot for a memory card that could store additional panoramas.


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