Here is a great way to get a 360 degree panoramic of a given area – throw a specially designed ball up in the air. The rest is done by the ball automatically, thanks to 36 cellphone camera sensors mounted around the outside of the ball (and protected in foam). As the ball reaches the maximum height of its travel, it is stationary for just a moment, Onboard sensors detect this momentary pause, and snaps the 36 pictures.
After retrieving the ball, the images are uploaded to a computer via USB, and a complete panoramic is assembled from the multiple images by dedicated software, which also lets you pan and view the image. There is no word yet on a commercial application of the unit, but it was being demoed at Siggraph Asia 2011.
Personally I would love to have one of these – it puts great panoramic
photography just a stones throw away, more or less. And if it was
coupled with a connected smartphone, wouldn't that be a great way to
show someone where you were at the time? It's almost like being there.
The word was originally coined by the Irish painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh. Shown on a cylindrical surface and viewed from the inside, they were exhibited in London in 1792 as "The Panorama". The motion-picture term panning is derived from panorama.