Okay this is REALLY cool. I know the jury is still out on whether cell phone cameras are ready to replace budget point-and-shooters. But this awesome patent-pending concept design reminds us of how useful tiny phone cameras really can be, image quality be damned. Just check out this video:
The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera, developed by a group of researchers at the Technical University of Berlin and based on the diploma thesis of Jonas Pfeil (titled "Throwable Camera Array for Capturing Spherical Panoramas"), will be presented as an emerging technology demonstration at Siggraph Asia 2011 in December. The unit uses 36 2-megapixel cell phone camera modules mounted in a padded sphere to snap a 360-degree panorama. After the device is thrown up into the air, an accelerometer enables it to trigger exposures at the highest point to capture a full 360-degree view (which gets stitched together in a viewer after images are downloaded to a PC via USB).
The three FAQs on Jonas Pfeil's website indicate that the group is looking for an investor or partner to bring the camera to market -- sounds like the perfect Kickstarter project if you ask me. I'd pledge some cash to get one of these babies -- what about you?