Panono: Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera

Posted: November 14, 2013
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Almost 2 years ago we showed you grad student Jonas Pfeil's superb photographic concept: a spherical camera that, when tossed in the air, takes panoramic photos. To put it lifelessly. To put it in the more representative style of Lil' John, Pfeil's camera freezes frames from the windoooow to the wall, 'til the gravity drags down his ball. Now, new size, design, and name in tow, he has decided to launch it as a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of segueing the idea from sick thesis project to sick free market economy project. Meet Panono, Pfeil's throwable panoramic ball camera.

Chuck Panono high in the air to capture a 360 x 360-degree, full-spherical panoramic image in 72 megapixels. Preserve not only what is happening in front of you, but what is happening all around you at any given moment. Then download your toss-and-snap shots to smartphones and tablets using the Panono app, or view them in your Web browser, and both remember and show others how the party/wedding/big game really was. Not just how things looked, but how it felt to be standing there as they unfolded. The Panono app allows users to spin their smart devices to view different directions of a captured panorama--right and left, as well as up and down--plus pinch or spread the image to absorb more detail. Viewed in a browser, Panono images appear and function similar to those in Google Street View.

To capture a Panono pano shot, toss the 4.33" sphere straight into the air (avoid too much rotation), and the camera will automatically snap at its highest point, which it detects has been reached by way of a soft nudge from the Baby Jesus. And also an accelerometer that measures its launch acceleration to calculate the ball's apex. At that location, when Panono has a moment of nearly no movement before its descent, its 36 fixed-focus cameras fire simultaneously to create a 360-degree memory.

Following image capture, Panono wirelessly transmits the data to a user's smartphone for preview, and then to the company's free cloud stitching service. The camera can also store up to 400 panoramic images on its internal flash memory if no phone or tablet are connected.

Panono seeks crowdfunding on Indiegogo through January 4, 2014. Initially anticipated date of camera delivery to backers is September 2014.

August 2014 Update: Panono far exceeded its crowdfunding goal and is now available for direct purchase through the company's website--follow the link below.

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