A Boston startup has developed a new device to help police and first responders assess a potentially dangerous area before having to enter. Bounce Imaging, founded by MIT alumni, has designed and built the tactical sphere – branded the Explorer – which is a soft ball containing six digital cameras and LED lights that, when rolled into a room or other enclosed space, can be used to scope out the location for prospective threats. The technology could be especially useful in hostage situations, allowing law enforcement to locate gunmen prior to entering.
According to MIT News, “When activated, the camera snaps photos from all lenses, a few times every second. Software uploads these disparate images to a mobile device and stitches them together rapidly into full panoramic images.”
“It basically gives a quick assessment of a dangerous situation,” said, Francisco Aguilar, CEO of Bounce Imaging CEO. The first run of Explorers were tested by police, and their feedback informed the direction of future models. “You want to make sure you deliver well for your first customer, so they recommend you to others,” Aguilar added.
The Explorer also features within its thick rubber exterior built-in temperature and carbon monoxide sensors, and also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Live footage from an Explorer can be viewed through a smartphone app.