Capturing true 360-degree panorama pictures is quite a rage these days. Google made them accessible and brought them to mainstream with Photosphere app in Android Jelly Bean. Since then we’ve seen a lot of companies trying to figure out the best way to capture fully panoramic pictures. We were quite impressed with the Ricoh Theta camera that we saw at IFA 2013, but it wasn’t perfect.
Meet Panono, a near perfect solution to take truly panoramic pictures. Panono is a throwable panoramic ball camera made of a tough clear plastic that lets you take Google StreetView like images. As weird as it might sound, one can throw Panono in air and have it snap a few pics which are stitched automatically to generate a stunning 360-degree panorama.
Though Panono looks like a ball, it’s in fact made up of 36 fixed focus cameras which all fire simultaneously to produce a 72-MegaPixel image. An accelerometer calculates when the Panono reaches its highest point, which then fires all 36 cameras. It comes with an accompanied app for iOS and Android, where you can preview the low-resolution version of the panorama. If you wish to use the 36 individual shots, you can do so, as they are automatically uploaded to the cloud via your smartphone.
Two years back, we had got a glimpse of what this Berlin-based startup was trying to come up with. It managed to wow us back then as well, but it was no more than a prototype and too big to be an actual product. Since then, the developers of Panono have worked hard to reduce its size and make it strong enough to withstand unintended falls and drops.
Below is an example of how the output would look like on the desktop. You can scroll through them and zoom in & out as you please just like you’d do on Google Maps StreetView, but for the real magic, you should install the iOS or Android app, where you’re encouraged to twirl around while holding your tablet or phone out in front of you, allowing you to explore the entire image as though you’d been standing there and looking around.
Currently, Panono is looking for USD 900,000 funding on the popular crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, and has already raised more than USD 85,000 within 24 hours of the campaign going live. Panono will retail for USD 599, but one can pledge as low as USD 499 on Indiegogo. That’s a steep price for a lot of people, but this is one of a kind camera with a fun angle attached to it. As an alternative, one can consider the Bublcam which also takes StreetView-like Panoramas, but at a much lower resolution of 14-MegaPixels, but enables live video streaming as well.