About this project
The BubblePod is a clockwork turntable that grips your smartphone and then rotates it 360º. Totally smoothly, totally silently.
As it does so, the BubblePix App (Available on Apple, Android and BlackBerry 10) captures an absolutely perfect 360º image. You simply rotate it once to wind it up, fire up the App and then hit the button. As your smartphone spins our BubblePix app captures images using your smartphone’s camera and then stiches them together to make a perfect high-resolution 360º image. Really simply and with a superb ‘professional’ result every time. We call them Bubbles and you can shoot and share them in less than a minute.
The BubblePod achieves a perfect horizontal rotation and maintains a constant vertical camera position. This makes stitching multiple images together to make a perfect 360º far easier because there is less error to correct. That means perfect Bubbles first time, every time. No need to re-touch and invisible blend lines between the frames. The best panorama apps on the market (including those native in the OS platforms) are the ones that best counteract the inherent variation in the separate images caused by trying to rotate the handset manually. That’s why some don’t actually let you go full 360º, they know the chance of matching the vertical position all the way round is pretty slim even when guided by the gyro in your smartphone. The BubblePod (patents pending!) just makes it effortless. Hit the button and then step back to let it do its thing.
It’s perfect for:
- High resolution Bubble images
- Slow or non-moving subject matter
- Business and personal
- A landscape or cityscape
- A table of friends or a party scene
- Property and spaces
- Recording a scene for posterity, promotion or formal record
- 360 'Street View' style images of your business or venue on-line
- iPhone, Android or BlackBerry 10 users
Nice little features:
- Universal silicone phone grip that securely holds a wide variety of smartphones
- Mechanical clockwork rotation, no batteries and no noise.
- Records an audio clip with the Bubble, so you can totally capture the atmosphere
- Simple wind up and one touch operation
- Universal tripod mount in base
- Wine bottle insert mount in base. Perfect for ‘round the dinner table’ moments
- Lightweight and portable (fits inside a jacket pocket)
- Rubberised base for maximum grip to surfaces
- Free BubblePix App with a bespoke full 360º stitching function built specifically for the BubblePod. Perfect for shooting and sharing your Bubbles and integrated with our existing App and sharing platform. See further down!
- Our BubblePod app features are being made to measure and focus on perfect full 360º pics. But you can of course use a variety of existing Apps too, including native camera panoramic features. So get creative!
From spark to manufacturing-ready
The BubblePod is from the mind of our founder and chief innovator Tom Lawton. This little video shows the BubblePod concept from initial sketches to the hand made prototype you see in our pitch video and pictures. One of the key challenges was engineering a totally silent and smooth rotation. We wanted it silent so that our final App can also record sound whilst it rotates to capture the ambience as well as a stunning 360º image. Tom worked with a prototying and CAD specialist in Bristol that works on our other projects as well as lots of products and brands you will have heard of… but we can’t say who! Hope you enjoy the vid.
Get an even bigger picture with our BubblePod Pro pack!
The standard BubblePod captures approximately 60º Vertical Field Of View because that is the Vertical Field of View (VFOV) for your smartphone’s camera. So you get a 360º x 60º image. But sometimes you need a bit more that that so we’ve developed our own custom wide-angle lens that increases the field of view of your smartphone to 120º. That means that not only do you get a full 360º image as the BubblePod rotates but you double the VFOV too. 360º x 120º. There’s not much that you’ll miss now!
It is perfect for capturing smaller indoor spaces or just getting an even fuller picture than before. Our lens is supplied in our BubblePod Pro pack with a universal clip that means you can quickly and easily attach it to a variety of smartphones. It also comes with the same bayonet connection as our BubbleScope, so if you have a BubbleScope or BubbleScope case (available separately) you can simply use it to connect your wide-angle lens. Easy! If you’d like more details on the wide-angle lens check out update 6 as this was a stretch goal we made available after we reached our funding target.
What colour works for you?
We need your help because this is not just our product it's yours too. What colour should the BubblePod be? We think the base section needs to be black or white, but the top section could be any one of these colours. Let us know your preference between black or white for the base, as well as your first and second choices for the silicon grip section. If we get enough support we'll make them all!
Plugged into our existing systems… it’s not our first time:
The BubblePod is brought to you by BubblePix, the team behind the award-winning BubbleScope. If you don’t already know, the BubbleScope is the world’s only accessory that lets you capture single-moment 360º stills and 360º video on your smartphone. The BubbleScope is great for absolutely instant still Bubble capture (and the video of course!) but the trade off for getting a still image Bubble in a single frame, using the BubbleScope’s patented optical system, is that you're capturing all 360º within the resolution of a single image.
The BubblePod however captures the 360º scene around you, whilst it rotates, using multiple high-resolution images. Which is perfect for when the subject matter isn’t moving quite so fast! But importantly we’re integrating our new BubblePod capture and stiching functionality (currently in final development) into our existing BubblePix App. That's the same App that the BubbleScope uses and which is already available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry 10. So you get all the great Bubble features already being used by our BubbleScope customers, straight out of the box and on multiple platforms. Only now for high-res BubblePod still Bubbles too. The BubblePix App also dovetails with bubblepix.com (our on-line sharing platform) so BubblePod users will be able to access all the great bubblepix.com account features being used by our current BubbleScope customers.
The BubblePix application currently available to download from the App stores are only for use with our BubbleScope. So all Bubble pictures you might see on bubblepix.com (online or in the App) are taken with BubbleScope NOT the BubblePod. So those pics are single moment 360 Bubbles and not high resolution multi-frame images that the BubblePod captures. The BubblePod stitching/capture feature will be released in an App update if we reach our minimum and start shipping BubblePods.
BubblePix App and bubblepix.com Features:
- Free to download BubblePix App, all BubblePix products are sold with an activation code, activating full functionality and creating a free cloud account on bubblepix.com.
- The bubblepix.com user account can be used to store Bubbles privately or publicly, so perfect for backing up your Bubbles as well as sharing them when you want to.
- The BubblePix App can be downloaded to multiple devices and synched to a single user account for easy sharing of Bubbles with a tablet or second device.
- Bubbles can be instantly and easily shared to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, linked to your BubblePix account
- Bubbles can be exported as standard flat JPEG images to the your photo library
- Bubbles shared online are viewable immersively in our interactive web viewer
- Once uploaded Bubbles can be embedded in your own website, along with our immersive web viewer, using our embed code feature. So you can have fully immersive 360º media on your own website in minutes.
- All Bubbles are geocoded so you can create your own Google Streetview! Perfect if you’re a small business looking to up your Google search rankings. You can publish 360º images of your venue on Google Streetview for enhanced rankings!
Maybe you've got your own ideas?
The BubblePod is as much your product as it is ours and so we've tried to keep our mission simple. We're about making the capture and distribution of high quality 360º media as cost effective and speedy as old-fashiond rectangular imagery. We know there are simply thousands of different ways the media itself could be used professionally and creatively. As a result our whole toolbox is open for you to play with. If you are a development company or specialise in a particular niche market, our App and platform are being enabled with a full development platform. So anybody can get in on the fun and produce BubblePix hardware compatible applications and web solutions quickly and easily. Just get in touch.
Into production and into your hands
We learnt a lot from establishing our BubbleScope manufacturing supply chain. The main thing was to partner with people who know the local landscape! We work with a specialist manufacturing management company that is based in the UK and China and that helped us get our BubbleScope production reliable and scalable. For the BubblePod they visited and shortlisted potential manufacturers and then helped us select our chosen partner. We already prepared manufacturing ready CAD in the UK so our partner who is now carrying out their own prototyping to ensure they understand the product fully and are ready to start making the moulds for production. We have already visited the factory and we will also oversee the pre-production sampling (from moulded parts) as well as the first production run. The moulds and first production will take around 8-10 weeks so the timing of our pitch means we should have products ready to dispatch in September. Our plan is to commence making moulds as soon as we reach our minimum, which will help us meet our timeline. We will ship the pledgers BubblePods in bulk by air to hubs in the UK, US and Hong Kong for dispatch out to individuals. These hubs already deal with our other products so they are ready to go as soon as we need them. Everything is lined up and ready to go so it should work like clockwork… just like the BubblePod!
There's a lot more where this came from...
We’re looking for your support to get the BubblePod into manufacture as we don’t have the funds to do all the exciting things we have on our whiteboards (or blackboards…) straight away. But we want to do it all and yesterday isn’t soon enough! We also want to grow organically for as long as we can and keep it real. Listening to our customers, rather than the moneymen. Kickstarter seemed a logical step for the BubblePod as it is such a great and yet simple product that produces superb quality Bubbles quickly and easily. It opens up a world of creative possibilities and applications as well as being at such an accessible price. The design is ingenious (and patented!) but not complicated to manufacture and our software is already developed and deployed, which means a successful pitch won’t be followed by a long wait for our backers. Our manufacturer is already prepped, the supply chain is scalable and this isn’t our first rodeo as they say. We’re not saying unpredictable things can’t happen, but we’ve got a lot of bases covered.
We make products that demystify things and make 360º imaging simple and cost effective to achieve. $30 not $300! We want 360º stills and video to be as easy to capture as old-fashioned stills and video are now. We believe 360º imaging is a very honest form of media. By making sure some things appear in the traditional imaging rectangle (and some things don’t!) imaging can be very misleading. A picture tells a thousand words as they say, but good composition can shape those words and they aren’t always what you might think. But nothing can hide from the Bubble! We believe they are more honest because they have a more complete field of view.
Having a successful pitch with the BubblePod will put us on a course to progress some of our other exciting product plans. Some are further iterations of the BubblePod itself but all of our plans mean making amazing 360 media more easily achievable. We want to get the whole world Bubbling in many more ways than one. Join us now and we’ll make sure we take you along for the whole ride.
BubblePix – because the world isn’t flat.
Risks and challenges
We've already established our manufacturer, prototyped the product, tested it extensively and got everything lined up and ready to go. We've allowed some extra time for the inevitable extra bits and bobs that need doing once you actually push the button on production, but we learnt a lot with our BubbleScope project so we've already tried to mitigate as many unknowns as possible up front. The BubblePix App and bubblepix.com are already up and running to serve our BubbleScope customers. Only the image stitching feature to work with the BubblePod is new. That functionality is already in testing and will be ready in plenty of time. We've put a lot of planning in and we have an experienced team so we should have as smooth a ride as possible from a successful pitch to getting products into your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We'd love to have launched with all platforms covered but didn't have the resource so we planned on enhancing the three platforms we already support with our BubbleScope in first instance. We do want a Windows Mobile app and it is planned we just don't have timescales yet. We are hoping to make it a specific stretch goal after our wide angle lens! Spread the word and help us get there!
Unfortunately not this model. If we had made it big enough to handle a tablet, it would have been much bigger than needed for the smartphone and not so easy to carry about. So we stayed focused on the smartphone but did engineer it to be able to take the larger 'phablet' smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note. It will handle small too and works with an iPod Touch. We have got plans for a larger tablet version but we're seeing how it all goes with this version first!
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