Panono is a ball-shaped camera that you can throw into the air, where it will take spherical panoramic photos of everything around you. After that, the panoramic photo you just captured will be sent wirelessly to your smartphone, where you can then send it to Panono’s free cloud service.
If you don’t have a smartphone with you (or at all), the camera can also store up to 400 images on its internal flash memory.
The secret to the Panono camera is its accelerometer, which measures the ball’s acceleration when a user tosses it in order to calculate when the ball will reach the top of its arc. When it does, just before it descends, the 36 fixed-focus cameras inside of it snap a photo at the same time, resulting in a fully spherical, high-resolution image. Because the camera is barely moving at the apex of the throw, the pictures come out clear, rather than blurry. And if it seems just wrong to be throwing a camera into the air, you could also use it as a hand-held camera or mount it on a tripod-like pole.
Panono has a diameter of 4.33 inches and weighs about two-thirds of a pound. It’s the second iteration of a Technical University of Berlin research project started back in 2010. The previous version of this camera was twice as big, though.
All of the pictures here were taken with the old version, as the new one is only a design model at this stage and doesn’t yet take pictures. The new design is still being tested to make sure it’s as durable and tough as possible. Panono is currently working on developing a schematic for the electronic board design. They’re also still tinkering with the process used to stitch together the multiple camera views. They’re currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to finish development of the camera. They set the goal at $900,000, and need a minimum of $100,000 to receive any of the funding raised. There are 54 days left in the campaign and Panono has currently raised $34,552. A $499 contribution will get you one of the cameras, which is $100 less than the retail price.