The camera contains an accelerometer, which is used to determine the highest point in the flight of the camera, at which point the cameras are triggered to take the panoramic images.
After catching the ball camera, pictures can be downloaded onto a computer over a USB port where they can be viewed in a spherical panoramic viewer developed by the researchers.
Jonas Pfeil, the engineer who developed the camera, says that it had already been effectively used to capture full spherical panoramas at scenic spots and in crowded city squares.
Although the camera is not yet commercially available, the researchers say that they are currently looking for an investor who would be interested in taking the development of the product further.
Interestingly such an approach was registered for patent protection more than two years ago by Steven Hollinger, president of S.H. Pierce and Co. (Boston, MA, USA; http://www.sjh.com/res/inv/ball.php).
More information on the throwable camera can be found on Jonas Pfeil's homepage.
-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design