Monday, August 24, 2015

Ball serves as eyes of police

Ball serves as eyes of police


Rich Breault with the Explorer, a round, throwable camera developed by Bounce Imaging and built at Lightspeed Manufacturing in Haverhill.

By Wendy Killeen    G L O B E C O R R E S P O N D E N  A U G U S T 2 0 , 2 0 1 5

Imagine you are a police officer or other first responder going into a dark building, an unlit stairwell, a tunnel or an attic. Dangerous, even for the most experienced.

But what if you could get a look inside those spaces before you enter?

Bounce Imaging was a gold winner in the 2012  Mas sC halle nge  startup competition and accelerator program.

That’s when Rich Breault, a founding partner of MassChallenge and president of Lightspeed, became enthused with the tactical camera. His company created a prototype and worked on the product’s development for three years. It is now sending a pilot run of the first 100 Explorers to police departments around the country.

We talked with Breault, 52, of Haverhill.

Q. How does the camera work?

A.As it rolls, it takes images from six cameras and stitches them together and transmits the data back to the responder’s mobile device. With a finger, the responder can move it around and see a 360­degree panoramic view of the space.

Q. Size and materials?

A. Like a softball. The electronics in the center are covered by a hard plastic shell and a rubber overmold.

Q. The key?

A. The software inside. It’s something not easily duplicated and will potentially save lives.

Q. Other advantages?

A. It’s reusable. In a school shooting, for example, it could be thrown in a classroom, and if clear, be retrieved and then thrown in another room.

Q. Cost?

A. Base model, $1,500; and up to $2,500 with advanced features.

Q. Future?

A. We are going into full­scale production in the fall. The main focus now is first responders, but there are possible applications for the military and, down the road, low­ cost [civilian] panoramic cameras.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at