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Throwable cameras give users a 360 degree view: Weapon of the week

Wednesday

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One weapon featured at Special Operations Forces Week 2024 is the size of a softball and might look like just a toy. However, the ball is actually a throwable, 360-degree tactile camera from Bounce Imaging that has more tech than what meets the eye.

“These are 360 degree throwable cameras that are used in law enforcement, search and rescue, and — in the context this week — in special operations,” Francisco Aguilar, the CEO of Bounce Imaging, said. “It’s something that you can throw into an environment and get an instant 360 degree view of what’s going on to many people, so that you can have a better view of what’s going on in that space.”

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The idea of a 360 degree camera packed into a ball took time to become a reality. Bounce Imaging started in 2012, but the technology need to complete its vision was not available until 2016

According to Bounce Imaging COO Mark Fargason, people like the throwable cameras because there’s not a lot to think about when using it.

“What folks love about this is that you can you can you take it out, turn it on, deploy it, view it on your video feed, understand it very quickly, with a very low cognitive load,” Bounce Imaging COO Mark Fargason said.

The hard rubber ball is equipped with six cameras and a two-way radio that lets people talk to each other through the ball. The audio system has become an invaluable tool for police, rescue and special force operators.

“So we know it’s making a difference, which we’re super proud of,” Fargason said. “And, you know, we hope to get it out to more folks in the future.”

Aguilar said their users are actually their best innovators.

“People have come up with really clever ways to use this to look over walls, down tunnels, inside attic spaces, around corners, in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to do,” Aguilar said. “[The ball has] a much lower demand on their thinking than with other tools.”

Furthermore, the throwable camera doesn’t require any other equipment. Users can view images from the ball on smartphones using the Bounce Viewer app.

The ball is also multi-lingual. According to Fargason, the device is preloaded with simple commands in 20 different languages. This means users not only have a clear picture, but they’re breaking down barriers as well.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

TIME NOW FOR OUR WEAPON OF THE WEEK, AND THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF CANDIDATES. 

FROM FIREARMS TO FIRE CONTROLS, AND A WHOLE HOST OF VEHICLES, WE HAD OUR PICK OF THE LATEST TECH.

AND ONE ITEM THAT CAUGHT OUR EYE IS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A SOFTBALL. THIS 360° THROWABLE, TACTICAL CAMERA FROM BOUNCE IMAGING IS MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE.

AT FIRST GLANCE YOU’D BE FORGIVEN FOR THINKING THIS BALL WAS JUST ANOTHER TOY FROM A TOYBOX, BUT YOU’D BE MISTAKEN. BECAUSE THIS BALL CONTAINS SOME VERY SERIOUS TECH. 

[Francisco Aguilar, CEO, Bounce Imagi”(n9hng]

“These are 360 degree throwable cameras that are used in law enforcement, search and rescue, and in the context this week, and special operations, and it’s something that you can throw into an environment and get an instant 360 degree view of what’s going on too many people, so that you can have a better view of what’s going on in that space”

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

LIKE ALL GREAT IDEAS, A 360º THROWABLE CAMERA, PACKED INTO A BALL, TOOK SOME TIME TO BECOME A REALITY. BOUNCE IMAGING STARTED IN 2012, BUT THE TECHNOLOGY NEEDED TO COMPLETE THEIR VISION NEEDED SOME TIME TO CATCH UP. BUT WHEN IT DID IN 2016, IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR POTENTIAL USERS TO SEE WHAT WAS POSSIBLE. 

[Mark Fargason, COO, Bounce Imaging] 

What folks love about this is that you can you can you take it out, turn it on, deploy it, view it on your video feed, understand it very quickly, with a very low cognitive load. ”

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

TO PUT IT IN EVEN SIMPLER TERMS, THERE’S NOT A LOT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN USING IT. THAT’S WHY THIS HARD RUBBER BALL, EQUIPPED WITH SIX CAMERAS, AND TWO-WAY AUDIO, THAT’S RIGHT YOU CAN TALK TO PEOPLE THROUGH THE BALL, HAS BECOME AN INVALUABLE TOOL FOR POLICE, RESCUE, AND SPECIAL FORCES OPERATORS. IN FACT BOUNCE IMAGINGS CEO, FRANCISCO AGUILAR, SAYS THEIR USERS, ARE THEIR BEST INNOVATORS.  

[Francisco Aguilar, CEO, Bounce Imaging]

People have come up with really clever ways to use this to look over walls down tunnels, inside attic spaces around corners, in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to do it with a much lower demand on their thinking than with other tools.”

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

ANOTHER COOL FEATURE, IT DOESN’T REQUIRE ANY OTHER EQUIPMENT, THAT’S BECAUSE USERS CAN VIEW IMAGES FROM THE BALL, RIGHT ON THEIR SMARTPHONE. JUST DOWNLOAD THE ‘BOUNCE VIEWER’, AND GO. 

[Mark Fargason]

So we know it’s making a difference, which we’re super proud of. And, you know, we hope to get it out to more folks in the future.”

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

ONE LAST THING, THIS VERY RUGGED CAMERA, IS ALSO MULTI-LINGUAL. MARK FARGASON TOLD US THE BALL IS PRELOADED WITH VERY SIMPLE COMMANDS, IN 20 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. MEANING USERS NOT ONLY HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE, BUT THEY’RE BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS AS WELL.