Bounce Imaging Develops Tactical Ball for First Responders with Rapid Manufacturing

Simply tossing a ball can make dangerous places safer for police, firefighters and other first responders — if that ball is the Explorer, a smartphone-enabled camera tucked inside a baseball-sized shell, developed by a Boston startup, Bounce Imaging.

Once the patented ball is rolled around a corner or down a darkened corridor, its six-eyed camera snaps images every half second in every direction until the ball comes to a stop. An image-processing algorithm in Bounce Imaging’s app assembles the images into a panoramic view for display on a mobile Android or iOS device.

Law enforcement can roll the tactical ball into unknown places to stream to live feedback.

The company’s name underscores a development challenge that Bounce Imaging has worked with Proto Labs to address: That is, producing a ball-shaped shell to protect the device’s sophisticated camera, six symmetrically placed lenses and microprocessor as they work together to capture high-resolution, precisely timed images while the Explorer bounces down, say, a concrete hallway or staircase.

See how Proto Labs helped Bounce with advanced 3D printing and injection molding to develop its Explorer device in our latest case study.

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