What’s better than eyeballs in the back of your head? How about eyes in a ball—one you can toss into a room ahead of you? A start-up launched by MIT Sloan alumnus Francisco Aguilar MBA ’12 is giving police officers and first responders a panoramic view of potentially dangerous situations before they enter.
Aguilar’s invention, the Explorer, is a softball-sized “tactical sphere” studded with six camera lenses that can send a stitched-together 360-degree view of a room to the user’s smartphone. Its commercial release next month by Boston-based start-up Bounce Imaging is much-anticipated following enthusiastic coverage from Wired, the BBC, NBC, and Time—which named the device one of the best inventions of 2012, noting future potential for such features as air quality and radiation detection. Bounce Imaging also earned top prizes at the 2012 MassChallenge Competition and the 2013 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge.
While police departments are Bounce’s target market, a Popular Science article this week notes the Explorer could save lives in disaster zones as well: “Rescue workers could drop Explorers into nooks and crannies that are otherwise inaccessible for larger tools but perfectly fine at accommodating a rolling ball, its lights and camera finding stuck people.” In fact, Aguilar conceived of the technology in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Read in MIT News how Bounce Imaging launched in 2012 with help from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS).