BubblePod uses clockwork motion to help shoot 360-degree panoramas
By Simon Crisp
June 25, 2013
The BubblePod is a clockwork motion control unit which spins your smartphone to help capture better quality panoramas. Currently vying for funding on Kickstarter, the clockwork turntable fits most smartphones and can be used on its own, mounted on a tripod, or even attached to the top of an open wine bottle.
Sharing a lot in common with the Spinpod, the BubblePod is another device with designs on improving your 360-degree panoramas by rotating your phone smoother and steadier than your wobbly hands could. But while it doesn't offer quite the same functionality as the Spinpod (which is also good for shooting motion time-lapse videos), it does have a few nifty tricks up its sleeve.
Firstly, the BubblePod uses a smooth and silent mechanical clockwork rotation rather than relying on a motor. This means the device does not require charging to work. Users simply wind it up and press a button to start it rotating, meaning you never run the risk of wanting to get your panorama on, only to discover the battery is dead.
It's also been designed to fit a wide range of smartphones. A silicone grip on the top of the BubblePod flexes to secure thin or chunky phones equally. The base is rubberized to help it stay put on different surfaces and features a universal tripod mount. There's also a hole in the middle, meaning it can be mounted on top of an open wine bottle, which could be particularly handy for group shots around a dining table.
Where the BubblePod really differentiates itself from other 360-degree motion control units, is that it hasn't just been designed to work with the continuous panorama function of your phone. Instead it comes with a companion app (iPhone, Android and BlackBerry 10) from maker BubblePix, which knows a thing or two about panoramas, having previously launched the BubbleScope for shooting instant 360-degree photos with the iPhone.
The app (an updated version of the current BubblePix app) will include its own 360-degree photo stitching tool and record an audio snippet (helped by the device being silent) to capture the ambience of the scene. The resulting 360-degree panoramas, called Bubbles, can then be experienced in an immersive Street View-like viewer either in-app or on bubblepix.com (like this). There's also the option to share your Bubbles to the usual social media networks, embed them on other websites and export them as flat JPEGs.
A Kickstarter pledge of £20 (US$31) is currently enough to get you a BubblePod. They should start shipping in October ionce the funding target is reached. Other pledge options include BubblePod and BubbleScope bundles.
Here's the Kickstarter video introducing the BubblePod.