November 18, 2008

‘Grenade Camera’ To Be Developed For UK Soldiers

The UK is developing a "grenade" camera that would enable soldiers to look into hazardous areas.

The wireless device called the I-Ball is robust enough to survive being thrown onto a battlefield.

But the I-Ball's internal camera provides a 360-degree view as images are sent from the instant it is launched.

Weapon's experts hope the new technology will enable soldiers to see into potential danger spots without putting themselves at risk of ambush.

The I-ball can be tossed into a room or fired from a grenade launcher, providing troops with vital information of who - or what - is on the ground or around the corner.

Image sensors and two fish-eye lenses are located inside the sphere. The data is then sent back and remapped through a type of processor known as a Field Programmable Gate Array which compensates for spin and tumble and then displays a true 360 image in real time.

The Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Competition of Ideas brought forth the concept of the I-ball in 2007.

The developer of the I-Ball, Paul Thompson from Scotland-based firm Dreampact, said that although the gadget was still in the early stages of development, he had high hopes of it being able to perform well on the battlefield.

He said his company overcame some significant technological challenges in developing the I-Ball technology.

"Although it is in its early stages, we are very excited about the technology's potential to help our troops to be better prepared for battle. "

Professor Andrew Baird, the MOD's director of technology development, was thrilled by the possibilities.

"The technology behind I-Ball is an exciting new development that has very significant potential across a range of military equipment and operational scenarios, particularly in difficult urban operations," he said.


On the Net: