Point-and-shoot digital cameras have certainly come a long way in recent years, but there's always been a basic limitation: You have to point them.
Or maybe not. The spherical, baseball-sized Bublcam is designed to take 360-degree panoramic photos and videos, much like the Street View function on Google maps. Attach it to a tripod, mount it on your bike (or your drone), or just hold it up at a concert and the Bublcam captures imagery in all directions.
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The Bublecam stitches images together dynamically and stores them on a Micro SD card. Or you can stream video to your PC or mobile device using the internal Wi-Fi unit. On playback, viewers can then move around the resulting photos and images onscreen, in real time - pan and zoom around with the mouse, or with a swipe on a touchscreen.
The Bublcam records video at 30 fps at 720p resolution, or 15 fps at high-def 1080p, and exports to MP4 format. Photos output as 14 megapixel "multiplexed" images after stitching. The camera also includes a built-in accelerometer to stabilize images.
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The Bublecam isn't the only panoramic consumer camera in development, but appears to be among the first that's ready for prime time. It's also remarkably cool looking - like a baseball circa 2097. The initial model is expected to become available sometime this fall, with a $579 price tag. The company hopes to lower the price point to below $500 by next year, and add 3-D capabilities, including integration with the hugely anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Photo: Bubl Technology