Innovation That Matters

Throwable 360° camera could aid search and rescue operations


Serveball is a throwable camera that can capture 360-degree footage while in the air, giving emergency responders visual coverage where the eye can't reach.

Devices such as the Kopin Golden-i Wireless Headset has already shown how emergency responders can take advantage of mobile tech. Now Serveball – a throwable camera that can capture 360-degree footage while in the air – could find use in search and rescue missions, giving responders visual coverage where the eye can’t reach.

The ball – which is around the size of a tennis ball – features cameras on four sides as well as an accelerometer that enables it to detect its orientation. By determining the direction each camera is pointing, the device stitches the images it takes together to provide a panoramic view of its surroundings. Because it also tracks its own spin, the footage can be corrected to provide stabilized, near-static coverage of every angle while in mid-air. The footage is transmitted to a monitor in real time through a wireless connection, meaning that those engaged in search and rescue operations could throw the camera into difficult-to-reach locations to gain a view they otherwise might not have been able to. The camera can also operate as a night vision or thermal imaging device, proving useful in low-visibility settings or where fire is a risk. Multiple Serveballs can be used together, using geolocation and sensors to stitch their footage together, creating a larger picture of the area of interest. The video below offers a demonstration of the device:

Although it has obvious applications for emergency situations, the Serveball could also be used for military reconnaissance, film projects or environment mapping, especially when using multiple devices in tandem. Could this kind of technology be applied elsewhere?

Spotted by: Murray Orange



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