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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Balls-up

13 November 2013

The crowdfunding scene never fails to amaze.

Yet another strange product proposal has appeared, this time on the Indiegogo site and you'll never guess what it is for...

Yes, as is so often heard around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning: "it's a ball!"

This isn't just any ball however, it's the Panono Camera, a ball that is also a panoramic camera.

Panoramic camera's aren't new and even the iPhone has an app which allows you to string together a sequence of images to create such an effect -- but the Panono is different.

If you watch the video you'll see that this little ball is filled with cameras that create a true 360 degree panorama in a manner that would be very hard to do any other way.

Traditional full, 360-degree spherical panorama cameras relied on a lens that would invariably produce a hole or include the stand in the image -- effectively resulting in the camera taking a picture of itself or missing some of the scene.

Because the Panono snaps its vista at the apex of a throw -- it really is capable of grabbing the full scene without seeing itself. Very smart!

With a projected price of US$600 it's not cheap however.

In fact, although it'd be a great novelty item, I don't think I'd be tempted to plonk down that much cash for "a ball" that's also a camera.

My sentiments may be shared by others because when I checked the crowdfunding total this morning the pledged amount hadn't even hit US$60K of the $900K target -- although there are still 54 days to go.

So what we have here is a clever idea that seems to have been very nicely implemented but perhaps at the current price-point, it's a product that has only a tiny market -- too small in fact to generate the necessary kickstarter funding.

Of course I'm sure the privacy police will soon start targeting this device and criticising it because (gasp!) a neighbour might throw it up in the air such that it could snap a picture through their upstairs bedroom window!

CAA might also be concerned that, if thrown high enough, it might knock down a passing Cessna 172 or Boeing 747.

Hmmm... maybe these evil porno-balls should be highly taxed and regulated instead.

Oh no, there I go again, giving bureaucrats and politicians ideas :-)

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