back to article Flying 360° panoramic camera poised for lift-off

Three Berlin-based inventors are rattling the tin to raise funds for their Panono camera – a throwable photoglobe delivering "incredible full-spherical images". The Panono The 300g Panono packs 36 cameras, capable of delivering a 360°x360° 72 megapixel panorama. When launched heavenwards, an onboard accelerometer detects …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm ... you are expected to throw it aloft but if it hits the ground it might/probably-will break ...


    (Still want one though)

    1. FartingHippo

      Ha, ha.

      Phil caaan't caa-aatch, Phil caaan't caa-aaatch.

      Nur-nur-nur-nur. Girl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha, ha.

        Truly I deserved that ... dammit. :-)

  2. Trygve Henriksen

    I wonder how good it would be for sports...

    Maybe not soccer, though...

  3. Gordon861

    Only want half

    Cut one of these things in half, and stick it to the bottom of an RC Quadcopter.

  4. Parax

    36 cameras

    Just seems like too many cameras to me.. Why not use fewer cameras with wider angle lenses?

    Surely a dodecahedral arrangement of 12 would be good? afterall Google manage fine with about 8 for Street View. I cant fathom why you'd want 36 unless they have a bulk load of cheap ones in which case why is it still $500...

    1. Cryo

      Re: 36 cameras

      I was thinking the same thing. Using wide fisheye lenses, this could technically be accomplished with as few as six cameras. You would need high quality lenses to avoid blurriness at the edges though, which would increase the cost, and such lenses would need to protrude from the surface of the device, making them likely to get broken. 12, or maybe 16 cameras with just moderately-wide lenses would be more practical. However, I suspect the creators of the device were looking to keep costs down, and as such, they appear to be using lower-end off-the-shelf cell phone cameras, which tend to have a rather narrow field of view. In bulk, such cameras might only cost a few dollars or so each, so using 36 of them may actually cost less than using fewer cameras with wide-angle lenses added.

      This is a neat idea, though the image quality doesn't seem particularly great. The combined resolution is good, but the images appear prone to exhibiting blown highlights and color casts. I also suspect that most tosses will result in unusably blurry images, and that the "tough clear plastic case" won't survive a missed catch over a hard surface. They really should have made the areas between lenses out of a soft foam or rubberized honeycomb material, seeing as the device is intended to be thrown. It does provide an interesting view with minimal effort though, so I'm sure many will be willing to overlook the fact that it's a $500+ camera with mediocre image quality. If one were willing to do some manual editing in an image stitching program, better results could be achievable with multiple shots from a regular camera on a tripod, though of course getting a top-down view would be harder, and you wouldn't be able to capture an instantaneous moments in all directions.

  5. j.p

    Love the idea, but I'm not a fan of the wide-angle distortion as evident in that lookout panorama, where i presume the railing is actually straight but appears like the prow of a ship. Would you only be able to improve this effect with MORE cameras, not less?

    1. Cryo

      The distortion in that image is because they stretched a 360 degree view into a flat rectangular image. There's no way to get around that short of viewing the image in spherical form. It's similar to how a flat map of the world greatly distorts the shape and size of landmasses the closer you get to the edges, while a globe does not. The only way to fully get around that in a continuous image is to map it to a sphere. For panoramas, a sphere can be simulated on-screen showing only a portion of the image at a time, such as with QTVR, or the similar tablet app shown in their video. So long as the field of view is set correctly, edge-distortion shouldn't be noticeable when viewed that way. You can't expect to have a flat photograph showing everything around you without significant distortion though.

  6. j.p

    or indeed, give it a little 'chute that deploys on apogee and once accelerometers detect the 'chute taking hold, it takes the shot through all 36 cameras which are mounted only on the lower hemisphere per Gordon's suggestion.

    armchair expert has all the answers over here, though weirdly, no-one ever asks...

  7. MaxHertz


    "...accelerometers detect apogee" sounds quite plausible, until you think about it.

    As soon as it leaves the throwers hand, it is in freefall, so the accelerometers register zero G for the whole of the flight (if one ignores air resistance and rotation).

    So presumably what they do is measure the acceleration pulse at launch and from there calculate the launch velocity (or in fact wait to detect freefall, and then go back in memory to detect the launch pulse). You assume you are going straight up, so you can calculate the approximate time to apogee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: apogee

      As soon as it leaves the thrower''s hand it is decelerating all the way up, until it reaches the highest point when deceleration turns into acceleration due to gravity. Briefly there would be no measurable deceleration or acceleration. Presumable that is what the camera-triggering sensors detect.

      I wonder if the sensors would work at the highest point of a more gradual transition during an arc trajectory, such as if you threw the ball to a friend?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: apogee

        Oh no no no. The acceleration due to gravity is there all along.

  8. Malc

    Go Pro already does this

    1) Set Timer or Set to Multiple Images

    2) Throw

    3) ...

    4) Catch (or drop as I have, they're quite robust)

    5) Repeat

    6) Edit/Delete useless images

    7) Profit?

  9. We're all in it together

    Hope you're a good throw

    Well officer I threw it and then it was stolen.

    Police are looking for a thief with an oval head and bulbous eyes courtesy of the apogee....

  10. Winkypop Silver badge

    Welcome to our attraction

    Mobile phones to silent please

    Do not use the flash on your camera

    No throwing things...

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