The slightly myopic Gorgon Stare sensor package that is being rolled out in the Predator fleet has a low cost competitor.
Once manufacturing has been resolved this system has the ability to become a major tool in emergency situations. Use a catapult to launch it and an operator with very little training can generate panoramic imagery. Swing it under a kite or balloon and things only get better.
Throw there or four up around a scene and very quickly a point cloud model of the situation could be generated to send back to Gold and Silver commanders.
Panoramic photography creates fascinating images. Very wide angle images are closer to the human field of view than conventional pictures. If seen through a panoramic viewer they let us experience a location as if we were there. Panoramic image stitching can create panoramas from pictures taken one after another. Unfortunately, acquiring the images takes a lot of time and moving objects may cause ghosting. It is also difficult to obtain a full spherical panorama, because the downward picture cannot be captured while the camera is mounted on the tripod.
In this work, we present a throwable panoramic camera that solves these problems. The camera is thrown into the air and captures an image at the highest point of flight – when it is hardly moving. The camera takes full spherical panoramas, requires no preparation and images are taken instantaneously. It can capture scenes with many moving objects without producing ghosting artifacts and creates unique images.
We used the camera to capture full spherical panoramas at scenic spots, in a crowded city square and in the middle of a group of people taking turns in throwing the camera. Above all we found that it is a very enjoyable, playful way to take pictures.