The throwable smart ball every first responder will soon have

By 11.05.12

Robots are incredibly useful. Unfortunately, that goes hand in hand with being incredibly expensive. While there’s ongoing work to drive down the cost of robots, especially ones for first responders, in the meantime, somebody’s decided to solve a major problem for them with balls.

Bounce Imaging

Bounce Imaging

No, bouncy rubber ones.

The idea is pretty simple. The inside of the ball has six cameras pointed in all directions, plus sensors such as Geiger counters, smoke detectors, or vibration sensors. It also has gyroscopes and accelerometers. Then, to get a sense of what might lie ahead, the ball, with a protective hard rubber shell, is thrown down a hallway, chucked down a shaft, or otherwise rolled or tossed.

It sends back to laptops or smartphones a complete 360 degree panorama to rotate through, as well as the other sensor data, so firefighters, hazmat teams, and others know what they’re in for.

Currently the problem is cost: Bounce, the company building these balls, has them priced at $500 and is hoping to get enough orders to lower the price. But either way, it’s great to know that soon first responders will have handy a way to see down the darker, nastier crevasses they have to explore.

Official Site [Bounce Imaging]

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