In the Serveball Labs Workshop


 
Less than a decade ago, personal UAV/drone development was exclusively the realm of hobbyists. It was a world being driven by pioneers, among them Chris Anderson and the late Fabio Varesano; powered by microelectronics from Sparkfun; and enriched by open hardware / software platforms developed and shared among forum members at DIYDrones.com. This was the collaborative, creative realm in which prototyping of our intelligent throwable devices began.
 
  under development
Squito™ Throwable Cameras
xMIT Wireless Throwable Camera Network
Darkball™ Ominidirectional Recon Cameras/Sensors
Aerfire™ Throwable Light Source and Network
Scattershot™ Collaborative Throwable Cameras

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for status updates from our Boston-based workshop.

Frequently Asked Questions
filed/issued priority to utility patents (issued)
2010/2012
2012/2013
2013/2015
2013/2015
2013/2016
2013/2016
2015/2017
2015/2017
2009
2009
2009-2013
2009-2013
2009-2013
2013
2009-2016
2009-2015
8,237,787
8,477,184
9,144,714
9,219,848
9,237,317
9,341,357
9,687,698
9,692,949
Throwable Camera
Throwable Camera
Throwable Camera Network
Throwable Camera
Throwable Camera Network
Throwable Light Source & Network
Throwable Camera Network
Trajectory Control
filed/issued   design patents (issued)
2012/2013
2014/2015

D690,344
D745,910
Throwable Camera Housing
Throwable Camera Housing


For information regarding public disclosures, public presentations, published papers, patents pending and provisional applications (2009-present) see milestones and portfolio below.


Serveball Throwable Technology Publications, Presentations and Milestones




IN THE SERVEBALL WORKSHOP

Multi-sensor throwable cameras are costly, particularly if disposable for search and rescue operations. Is a low-cost, single-sensor, full-spherical panoramic throwable camera possible?


"The fused fiber-optic enabled ball as illustrated in FIG. 3 may be used in an alternative embodiment to capture a plurality of images at a single moment in the ball's trajectory for the purpose of stitching together a panoramic image. The on-board orientation sensor can provide the on-board processor with the ability to spatially transform each image captured to a fixed normal relative to the ground plane. A series of such panoramic images captured at successive moments over the arc of the ball's trajectory may be compiled into a viewable fly-through of the space through which the ball traveled."
U.S. Patent 8,237,787 (2010)



2017-06-27
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,692,949 (HOL-013)
Ball with trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation. See portfolio below for references.



2017-06-27
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,687,698 (HOL-012)
Throwable light source and network for operating the same. See portfolio below for references.
  2017-05-12
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-016), Throwable cameras and network for operating the same. Priority to 2009-2015 applications. See portfolio below for references.



2016-05-17
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,341,357 (HOL-010)
Throwable light source and network for operating the same. See portfolio below for references.
  2016-04-15
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-015), Throwable light source for synchronization with a camera and network for operating the same. Priority to HOL-010. See portfolio below for references.
2016-04-11

2016 Update:
Serveball Labs announces Scattershot360™ project
(opens in new window)
Collaborative stitching by cameras moving in independent trajectories
2016-01-12
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,237,317 (HOL-009)
Throwable camera and throwable camera network, priority to 2009-2013 applications. See portfolio below for references.
2016-01-03 How was our Squito throwable camera invented?
The Art of Serendipity
New York Times
author: Pagan Kennedy
2015-12-22
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,219,848 (HOL-008)
Ball with camera for reconnaissance or recreation, priority to 2009-2012 applications. See portfolio below for references.
  2015-12-22
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Design Patent D745,910 (HOL-011-D). See portfolio below for references.
  2015-12-11
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-014-D), camera. See portfolio below for references.
  2015-10-15
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-013), Ball with trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation. See portfolio below for references.
2015-09-29
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 9,144,714 (HOL-007)
Throwable cameras and network, priority to 2009-2012 applications. See portfolio below for references.
  2015-08-14
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-012), Throwable cameras and network for operating the same. See portfolio below for references.
2015-02-13 Press Release: Squito throwable camera wins 2015 German Design Award / Special Mention (PDF)
Notice: 2014-10-29
Award:
2015-02-13
  2014-12-24
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-011-D), Camera housing. See portfolio below for references.
2014-05-06 Design News/Nomination: Conceptual design of Squito throwable panoramic camera nominated for a 2015 German Design Award by German Design Council.
Category: Excellence in Product Design (citation)
  2013-12-09
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent pending (HOL-010), Throwable light source and network for same. See portfolio below for references.
2013-09 Interview in Darkroom Pro magazine with Serveball founder/inventor. (PDF)
  2013-09-24
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Design Patent D690344 (HOL-006-D). See portfolio below for references.
  2013-09-10 Product Update: Working prototype of Serveball Aerfire™ LX2 ruggedized, throwable light source (visible and infrared) with 2-part impact-resistant housing, demonstrated by Tektite Industries Inc. at DSEI 2013 London. Light and sensor modules in development.
2013-07-02
issue date
R&D Update: U.S. Patent 8,477,184 (HOL-005). Priority to 2009-2010 applications.

Press Release: U.S. Inventor Granted 2nd Patent for Throwable Panoramic Camera
2013-05-25
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. CIP patent application (HOL-009), Throwable camera and throwable camera network, priority to 2009-2012 applications.
See portfolio below for references.
2013-05-17 Design News: Conceptual design of Squito throwable panoramic camera selected as a finalist for 2013 Red Dot Design Concept Award. (citation)
2013-05-04
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. patent application (HOL-008), Throwable camera, priority to 2009-2012 applications.
See portfolio below for references.
2013-03-13
filing date
R&D Update: U.S. CIP patent application (HOL-007), Throwable camera network, priority to 2009-2012 applications.
See portfolio below for references.
2013-01-20 R&D Update: G-force test video published: Serveball throwable camera ball prototype position, orientation and g-force testing with 9 DOF IMU, sensor fusion, 1 of 3 cameras. http://youtu.be/svrEriWpLAg
2012-12-12 Throwable ball camera prototypes presented at MIT
Art and Design Circle
2012-08-29
issue date
R&D Update: Serveball U.S. Patent 8,237,787 (HOL-004), Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation. Priority to 2009-2010 applications.

Press Release: U.S. Inventor Granted Patent for Throwable Ball Camera. Release includes first public preview of Squito throwable camera.
2012-08-29
filing date
R&D Update: Serveball U.S. design patent application (HOL-006-D, issued 2013) for 3-part Squito housing and mold (status: pending).
2012-06-08
filing date
R&D Update: Serveball U.S. patent application (HOL-005, issued 2013), Throwable camera, priority to 2009 and 2010 applications.
See portfolio below for references.
2011-10-17 Vision Systems Design, Throwable camera captures panoramic images. (reference to VSD 09/2009)
2011 Patent prosecution continues at USPTO.
2010 Publication: Serveball U.S. patent applications (HOL-001 through HOL-004) published by USPTO, WIPO.
2010-05-01
filing date
R&D Update: Serveball U.S. patent application (HOL-004, issued 2012), priority to 2009 applications: Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation. See portfolio below for references.
2009-09-01 Vision Systems Design, Image Capture: Smart spheres target consumer, surveillance applications. Keywords: outdoor recreation, sports, film/video VFX, search-and-rescue, tactical, SLAM
  2009 Q3 First public disclosure.
Seaport "Innovation District," Boston MA.
2009-05-02
2009-05-13
2009-07-17
filing dates
R&D Update: Provisional U.S. patent application, Title: Recreational ball (HOL-001), throwable panoramic ball camera and in-flight imaging technology.

Provisional U.S. patent application, Title: Recreational ball with trainable camera (HOL-002), throwable panoramic ball camera and in-flight imaging technology.

Provisional U.S. patent application, Title: Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation (HOL-003), throwable panoramic ball camera and in-flight imaging technology.

See portfolio below for references.
— 2008 (Boston, MA)
R&D: position/orientation sensor assisted throwable ball camera technology; stitching of data from spiraling camera; stitching from multiple distributed cameras; 360° spherical panorama; position sensing logic for camera triggering, image normalization to ground plane, target tracking; apogee triggered panorama; production of stitched landscape and stabilized video compilation from normalized frames; wireless data transmission; remote control and target training; and trajectory control. Proof-of-concept experiments include 1, 3, 6 and 12 cameras.


Company IP Portfolio


Status

Date

Description
filed
2009-05-02 HOL-001: U.S. provisional patent application #61/174,994, Title: Recreational ball
filed
2009-05-13 HOL-002: U.S. provisional patent application #61/177,769, Title: Recreational ball with trainable camera
filed
2009-07-17 HOL-003: U.S. provisional patent application #61/226,618, Title: Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation
earliest priority
filed
issued

2009-05-02
2010-05-01
2012-08-07

HOL-004: U.S. Patent 8,237,787 Title: Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation, filing date 05/01/2010 with priority to provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009 and 07/17/2009
Click here to download US Pat 8237787 in PDF format.
earliest priority
cn filed
issued
2009-05-02
2012-06-08
2013-07-02
HOL-005: U.S. Patent 8,477,184, Title: Ball with camera and trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation, priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009 and 05/01/2010
filed
issued
2012-08-29
2013-09-24
HOL-006-D: U.S. Design Patent D690344, Title: Housing for a plurality of cameras
earliest priority
cip filed
issued

2009-05-02
2013-03-13
2015-09-29
HOL-007: U.S. Patent 9,144,714, Title: Ball with camera for reconnaissance or recreation and network for operating the same, priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010 and 06/08/2012
earliest priority
cn filed
issued

2009-05-02
2013-05-04
2015-12-22
HOL-008: U.S. Patent 9,219,848, Title: Ball with camera for reconnaissance or recreation, filed with priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010 and 06/08/2012
earliest priority
cip filed
issued

2009-05-02
2013-05-25
2016-01-12
HOL-009: U.S. Patent 9,237,317, Title: Throwable camera and network for operating the same, filed with priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010 and 06/08/2012
filed
issued

2013-12-09
2016-05-17
HOL-010: U.S. Patent 9,341,357, Title: Throwable light source and network for operating the same
filed
issued

2014-12-24
2015-12-22
HOL-011-D: U.S. Design Patent D745,910, Title: Camera housing
earliest priority
cn filed
issued

2009-05-02
2015-08-14
2017-06-27
HOL-012: U.S. Patent 9,687,698, Title: Throwable cameras and network for operating the same, filed with priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010 and 06/08/2012
earliest priority
cn filed
issued

2009-05-02
2015-10-15
2017-06-27
HOL-013: U.S. Patent 9,692,949, Title: Ball with trajectory control for reconnaissance or recreation, filed with priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010, 06/08/2012, 05/04/2013
filed
status

2015-12-15
pending
HOL-014-D: U.S. Design Patent application, camera
filed
status

2016-04-15
pending
HOL-015: U.S. Patent application, Title: Throwable light source for synchronization with a camera and network for operating the same, filed with priority to non-provisional application (HOL-010) of 12/09/2013.
filed
status

2017-05-12
pending
HOL-016: U.S. Patent application, Title: Throwable cameras and network for operating the same, filed with priority to provisional and non-provisional applications of 05/02/2009, 05/13/2009, 07/17/2009, 05/01/2010, 06/08/2012, 05/04/2013, 10/15/2015
     
misc
  Company trademarks and proprietary IP
Patent Prosecution: Rauschenbach


Media

 
2012-09 Slashgear
TechHive
Trendhunter
TechNewsDaily
derStandard
TecMundo
 
2011-10 Vision Systems Design
  2009-09 Vision Systems Design


References

 
Date

Reference/Citation
Bounce Imaging Explorer by Francisco Aguilar and David Young

image:
Jaunt Inc.
(prototype)
2014 Spherical 360° camera by Jaunt Inc.
Panono camera ball prototype

image:
Panono
(prototype)
2013-11-05 U.S. Pat. 8,237,787 (Hollinger) cited in EPO/WIPO Examiner's Search Report (PDF), PCT patent application: Kamerasystem zur Aufnahme von Bildern und dazugehöriges Verfahren, Camera system for recording images, and associated system, WO2012149926 (A1), filing date 05/05/2011, applicant: Jonas Pfeil, Panono GmbH, Germany. For additional citations, see "Ballcamera" below.
Bounce Imaging Explorer by Francisco Aguilar and David Young

image:
Bubl
(prototype)
2013 Bubl camera by Bubl Technology Inc. (Canada)
Bounce Imaging Explorer by Francisco Aguilar and David Young

image:
BallCam
(prototype)
2013-02-27 U.S. Pat. 8,237,787 (Hollinger) cited in Vision Systems Design profile of BallCam, Researchers produce wide-angle video with ball camera, a project of Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and the University of Electro-Communications (UEC; Tokyo, Japan) project team Kris Kitani (Carnegie Mellon), Kodai Horita (CMU), Hideki Sasaki (UEC), Professor Hideki Hoike of UEC. Click here to download CMU paper including citation (PDF)
Bounce Imaging Explorer by Francisco Aguilar and David Young

image:
Bounce Imaging
Explorer

(prototype)
2013-01-21 U.S. Pat. 8,237,787 (Hollinger) and related product development cited in Boston Globe profile of Bounce Imaging (Boston, MA), Camera-ball helps keep emergency responders safe, Globe Staff Reporter Hiawatha Bray,
Click here to download (PDF)
Ballcamera/Wurfkamera by Jonas Pfeil

image:
Ballcamera
2012-11-08 U.S. Pat. 8,237,787 (Hollinger) cited in EPO/WIPO Examiner's Search Report (PDF), PCT patent application: Kamerasystem zur Aufnahme von Bildern und dazugehöriges Verfahren, Camera system for recording images, and associated system, WO2012149926 (A1), filing date 05/05/2011, publication date: 11/08/2012, patent status: pending, applicant: Jonas Pfeil, "ballcamera / wurfkamera," Panospective GmbH, Germany
2012-10-18 U.S. Pat. 8,237,787 (Hollinger) cited in PCT application, Camera device with reduced size, applicant: Tsutomu Totani, Japan, assignee: Beat Sonic Co. Ltd., 2012/0263450 (A1), filing date 04/12/2012, priority date 04/18/2011, publication date 10/18/12, patent status: pending
CTRUS by Alberto Villarreal, AGENT

image:
CTRUS by Agent
(conceptual)
2010 CTRUS by Alberto Villarreal, Agent (Mexico) airless soccer ball with position detection system.


Throwable Camera and Sensor Technology Milestones

 
Date

Technology
Ricoh Theta 360° Panoramic Camera

image:
Ricoh Theta
(prototype)
2013 Theta by Ricoh (Japan) 360-degree camera.

First consumer camera (MSRP < 1000$US) capable of capturing full spherical panoramic images.
Intel Fireball Sensor Grenade

image:
Intel Fireball
(prototype)
2011 Fireball by Intel (USA) throwable sensor grenade and wireless iPhone app.


image:
PicoRover
(prototype)
2010 PicoRover from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain) counterweight-driven rolling camera ball.
ODF Optronics Ltd. Eye Ball R1

image:
ODF Eye Ball R1
(commercial unit)
2006









 
   
Eye Ball R1 by ODF Optronics Ltd. (Israel), self-righting ball camera with wireless video transmission (2009 video, 2011 video). ODF patents cited as prior art in U.S. Patent #8,237,787 (Hollinger) and parent applications.

Distributed in the USA by Remington (2006-2013), the Eye Ball R1 is a low-cost throwable camera for military, law enforcement and first responder applications.

2013 Update: ODF Optronics Ltd. (Israel) acquired by Mistral Group (Bethesda, MD).
Flee by Hakan Bogazpinar

image:
Flee
(conceptual)
2009 Flee by Hakan Bogazpinar (Turkey) throwable camera cited as prior art in U.S. Patent #8,237,787 (Hollinger) and parent applications.
Triops by Franziska Faoro

image:
Triops
(conceptual)
2007 Triops throwable camera by Franziska Faoro (The Netherlands).
Satugo by Eschel Jacobsen and Mads Ny Larsen

image:
Satugo
(conceptual)
2006 Satugo by Eschel Jacobsen and Mads Ny Larsen (Denmark) throwable ball camera cited as prior art in U.S. Patent #8,237,787 (Hollinger) and parent applications.


image:
Dodeca
2004 Immersive Media develops all-digital spherical camera.

2010: 360-degree spherical panoramas from the rubble of the Haiti earthquake premiere on CNN International, captured by compact portable Dodeca 2360 (Haiti 360) 360° spherical camera. More info here.

2011 Update: Immersive Media acquired by Immersive Ventures.
     
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Third-party trademarks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.