A Haverhill-based electronics manufacturer was lauded by the Haverhill City Council at last night’s meeting for its role in creating a high-tech, baseball-sized camera, now in use by several first responders.
In 2012, Lightspeed Manufacturing, located in the Ward Hill Business Park, along with the Greater Haverhill Foundation, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, City of Haverhill and Northern Essex Community College, organized a “Shark Tank”-style competition called the “Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge” for several startup companies from around the state.
Bounce Imaging, now of Buffalo, N.Y. won that competition and went on to use Lightspeed’s facilities to develop a unit called “Explorer Unleashed.” Councilor John A. Michitson described how the product works.
“This is the camera ball and it has cameras in every direction. A first responder can throw it into a room so that you know exactly what’s in the room, and the technology is that the images from each of the cameras, that are all around on the ball, are stitched together with an algorithm that creates a 360-degree image. That way, they have an idea of what they’re facing before they actually go there,” he explained.
Bounce Imaging recently won a five-year contract worth up to $15 million to supply those units to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
Francisco Aguilar, CEO of Bounce Imaging, previously said the idea for the device sprang from watching rescuers looking for victims during the Haiti earthquake. He also praised Lightspeed Manufacturing and Haverhill, in general, as “a region that really is open to innovation and really excited about helping young entrepreneurs make things that change the world.”
Several councilors also expressed praise for Rich Breault, president of Lightspeed, for his work in a number of community projects, including turning his facility into a face mask manufacturing company back in April of 2020. Lightspeed delivered 40,000 masks to hospitals and medical institutions during that crucial period of the pandemic.