'Bouncy' cameras to see hidden dangers

Oct. 29, 2012 at 5:31 PM

BOSTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A "bouncy-ball" camera could help firefighters or SWAT teams scope out the potentially dangerous environments they are about to enter, its U.S. developer says.

The device, by Boston-based Bounce Imaging, contains six cameras that take two photographs per second and send them to a smartphone or laptop when the ball is thrown into an unknown area.

Software combines the images into a 360-degree view of a room, and the cameras capture light in the near-infrared range allowing it to build a full panorama of an area even if it is poorly lit, NewScientist.com reported.

One SWAT-team officer in a major U.S. city, speaking in an unofficial capacity, said the Bounce device is attractive because of its low cost and ease of use.

At a few hundred dollars, it's much cheaper than the existing technologies used to image the inside of unknown areas, he said.

It could be a life-saver in incidents involving a shooting suspect, he said.

"Incidents with active shooters are so volatile," he said. "Whether it's one officer or two officers on scene, this technology gives them the opportunity to know the dangers around the corner before they get to them."

The devices will undergo testing by SWAT teams and Massachusetts police departments in January, Bounce Imaging founder Francisco Aguilar said.

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