InterScience, a contract R&D company, is developing a spherical surveillance device that provides a hemispherical field of view. C-View, with the approximate dimensions of a softball, has a range of a 360° horizontal and >180° vertical field of view with no blind spots. Currently in the advanced prototype development stage, the device can be integrated with visible light and IR thermal cameras for use in commercial and military surveillance, perimeter detection, and industrial and pipe inspection, among other applications.
C-View incorporates a small camera and wireless video transmitter, and runs off a battery. The sphere could be thrown or dropped into a hostile area, whence it would transmit its observations to a display monitor. In a hostage rescue operation, for instance, law enforcement personnel could scan the scene, including floor and ceiling, and plan their moves accordingly
Part of the challenge in designing C-View was packaging it inexpensively in COTS materials that would comply with its impact-resistant, shock-absorbing, and self-righting requirements. InterScience was assisted in this quest by contacting SATOP, the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, which in turn called in Ron Green. A contract engineer whose background includes aerospace engineering and work on the Hubble Space Telescope, Green is associated with Design By Analysis (New Britain, CT, www.dbaworks.com), a SATOP partner. He analyzed the sphere's wall stresses and devised an internal mounting system for the optical system that would allow it to handle the stresses of being thrown into or against a hard landing spot.