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'Throwable' Camera Wins $1M Verizon Technology Award

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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11, 2015 — Verizon Communications Inc. has awarded one of its three Powerful Answers Awards to Bounce Imaging of Boston for its development of omnidirectional cameras that provide real-time video and sensor data from potentially hazardous areas.

Bounce Imaging won in the Emergency Response category, receiving a $1 million prize. The company's Explorer cameras — 100 of which were issued to police in June 2015 — were first conceived as a tool to improve safety for first responders.

About the size of a softball, the Explorer contains one camera with six lenses. The outer layer consists of a thick rubber shell tested to military standard MIL-STD 810, dropping the device onto concrete 26 times from a height of 4 ft. and 26 times from a height of 7 ft. to ensure it can withstand being tossed into buildings and landing on hard surfaces.

Once activated, the device's cameras take a few monochrome WVGA (800 × 480) images every second. These are run through a single processor, with image-stitching software developed by engineers at the Costa Rican Institute of Technology producing a single 360° panoramic image of the ball's surroundings.

Unlike other methods that take around a minute to combine multiple images into a single panorama, the software's algorithms achieve image-stitching in a fraction of a second. The Explorer also serves as its own wireless hotspot to ensure users can wirelessly receive its images.

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Dec 2015

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