Scottish I-Ball rolls to success

Launchable, wireless projectile camera from Scotland provides stabilized images from ground and sky, wins U.K. contest.


A new launchable, wireless projectile camera from Scotland gives troops 360-degree, high-quality, real-time video coverage whether in flight or rolling on the floor.

The I-Ball can be tossed into a room, fired from a grenade launcher or even a mortar, and its advanced image stabilization technology will still deliver a steady picture and easy to see "high-value" video, according to creator Edinburgh-based company Dreampact. The grenade-size, wireless camera will allow the redcoats to have a quick peek before entering a room or cresting a ridge--basically providing the services of a miniature unmanned vehicle, but without the noisy engine.

The I-Ball won Britain's Ministry of Defence's Competition of Ideas contest, which challenges U.K. companies to come up with problem-solving technologies.

"A chap from the MoD told us there was money if (we) came up with a good idea so we came up with an idea, we didn't know if it was bonkers or a good idea--and they funded it," Paul Thompson, an engineer at Dreampact, said in an interview with

The I-Ball demo model is wired, but the unit is readily adaptable to wireless networks. However, the wired model comes with one advantage over the wireless version, and that is that after throwing it somewhere: "You can pull it out again," said Thompson.

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at Disclosure.


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