Throwable ball camera for fly-by video patented by inventor

Sep 4, 2012

The inventors with the world come up with interesting stuff all the time, but one new device from Boston inventor Steve Hollinger is particularly cool. Holliger has been awarded a patent for his throwable ball camera, which is bound to offer a new perspective on things. This ball camera could have many potential uses, with reconnaissance, search and rescue, and outdoor recreation being just a few of the examples Hollinger brings up in a statement.

Specifically, the patent is for a "ball that provides normalized images of a ground-based target subject captured over the course of the arc of its airborne trajectory." The ball makes use of position sensors and high-speed cameras, and once it's in the air, the camera uses its own position, orientation, and trajectory to determine its "precise relationship to a subject of interest." The camera can use this knowledge to "stitch together" a collection of images into a video, and if the ball has multiple cameras in it, it can keep perspective on a specific subject while it's in the air.

In baseball, the camera could take us through a pitch and subsequent hit from the ball's point of view. The camera would be snapping shots from the time it's pitched, and in the case of a ball that has multiple cameras in it, it could keep the focus on the batter as it flies through the air. It's a very interesting patent, and Hollinger has already started work on the first-generation prototype of his idea, calling it "Squito." Squito comes equipped with "three cameras, an array of position sensors, a microcontroller and image processor," and it's capable of taking a spherical, panoramic shot of its surroundings when it reaches the apex of its trajectory.

There really isn't any denying that this is a pretty cool idea, and hopefully we'll be hearing more from Hollinger about Squito soon. As stated above, this patent could have some applications that are potentially life saving, so here's hoping that Hollinger's invention gains some steam. Keep it right here at SlashGear, because you can bet we'll be watching the development of Squito.

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