All-in-one camera ball scouts dangerous locations

Imagine how much easier it would be if first responders could search inside collapsed buildings, or if police could scope out a suspect's room for danger before breaking in. That's the driving force behind the Explorer, a tactical ball equipped with cameras, LED lights and sensors designed to do exactly that. The idea here is that you could simply roll the ball into a room and the six built-in cameras would snap a slew of photos. The software then quickly and intelligently stitches them together in a panorama and, thanks to a built-in wireless hotspot, transmits the image back to your phone, potentially warning you of trapped survivors or dangerous gunmen.

The company behind it is Bounce Imaging, a startup founded by MIT alumnus Francisco Aguilar. He first came up with the idea five years ago in the days following the Haiti earthquake, as search and rescue efforts were hampered by difficult and expensive fiberoptic cameras. The Explorer, on the other hand, is priced to be much more affordable, plus it's coated in a thick rubber shell so it's more durable too. Ball cameras have been around for awhile now, but this is one of a few that's designed specifically for rescue and police work. Indeed, Bounce Imaging has already announced that it'll be sending out a hundred of these Explorers to police departments across the country. As for what's next, well, Aguilar says that it might look into optioning that smart image-stitching tech for drones, movies or even your next smartphone.