Throwable cameras are important, and not just because it’s a lot of fun to huck a camera at something to see what you can get for a picture. Rescue personnel can use them to get a fuller picture of what’s going on in, say, a collapsed building. Journalists can use them to get photos that corporations and governments may not want the public to see. And, hey, it’s a neat way to take a selfie. Now a Boston inventor, Steve Hollinger, has come up with the Squito, and he may have made the best throwable camera yet.
Camera-wise, it’s like most other throwable cameras: Multiple small cameras pointed in multiple directions. What makes the Squito stand out is what Hollinger has put on the inside. First of all, for obvious reasons, throwable cameras do not capture great video, since thrown balls tend to spin, giving it a video effect not unlike tossing a Handycam in a dryer. But Hollinger has apparently licked that problem with some complex image stabilization software and stitching capabilities that let the camera take shots, track targets, and stitch the whole thing together as it flies through the air.
Check out the video; especially for camera nerds it’s pretty fascinating.
Honestly, just the real-time image stitching software is probably something that would command attention, but Hollinger has gone a lot farther. Panoramas? Check. Spherical panoramas? Check. Tilt control to keep the video stable? Check.
Sadly, the Squito is not on the market just yet. Hollinger is still working on some aspects of the camera, but he wants to see who’s interested in working with him and seeing what applications the Squito can be developed for. We suspect that this will probably wind up in sporting equipment first, but it’ll be saving lives sooner than you might think.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.