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Thread: Bouncing ball with cameras and sensors will let LEOs and firefighters see inside dangerous buildings

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    Jenna's Avatar
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    Bouncing ball with cameras and sensors will let LEOs and firefighters see inside dangerous buildings

    First responders such as firefighters or police officers are often faced with a difficult situation – they need to get into a building as fast as possible, yet it’s unsafe for them to just blindly run in without knowing what hazards await them. Some groups are attempting to address this problem by designing
    reconnaissance robots
    , although such devices can be expensive and/or complex. Boston-based Bounce Imaging, however, is putting the finishing touches on something a little more simple to use – a throwable smart ball.
    The base version of the rubber-shelled ball incorporates six wide-angle video cameras and accompanying infrared LED lights, plus a gyroscope, accelerometer and microprocessor.When thrown into a building, all of the cameras snap still images at a rate of two shots per second as the ball rolls across the floor. Those images are then stitched together into a 360-degree panoramic photo of the interior, and wirelessly transmitted to a laptop or smartphone outside the building.
    Depending on their intended use, different versions of the ball will be equipped with different additional sensors. The firefighting model will feature smoke, alcohol and oxygen sensors; the Homeland Security version will incorporate a Geiger counter and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) detector; and the search and rescue model will have vibration detectors and digital microphones.According to Aguilar, prototypes should be heading out for field testing with first response crews in January. He estimates that the balls will initially sell for US$500 each, although he hopes that the price will drop significantly as the scale of production increases.


    Ball with brains and cameras designed to keep first responders safe

  2. #2
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    I would be more inclined to roll it than throw it.
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    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Seems like throwing it might give the thing more data to work with than rolling it would. The ball would spend some time at an elevation that better approximates normal human vision, capture images from a variety of angles, and make more use of all its cameras (since if you rolled it than a couple of them would probably be right against the floor at any given moment).

    Rolling it would probably be easier on the electronics, though. And maybe more subtle, if that's a consideration at that point. I wonder how long it takes the program to put that all together into a panoramic image? Looks like a cool toy, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berserk View Post
    And maybe more subtle, if that's a consideration at that point. I wonder how long it takes the program to put that all together into a panoramic image? Looks like a cool toy, anyway.
    Yeah, that was more my point but I see yours as well. If subtle isn't an issue, bounce that bad boy!
    Jenna likes this.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


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    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    If subtle isn't an issue, bounce that bad boy!



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    Knowing my luck, I'd toss it in and get pictures of the inside of a pit bull!
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