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Bounce Imaging prepares to roll into Consumer Electronics Show next week

Posted by Scott Kirsner  January 4, 2013 07:56 AM

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If you're going to attend the Consumer Electronics Show for the first time, I totally recommend taking the Francisco Aguilar route. The co-founder of Bounce Imaging got an invitation to demo at the vast Vegas tech confab next week, free, courtesy of the Syfy channel and Publicis Groupe. His Boston startup will be presenting at an invite-only showcase of soon-to-be-released products next Wednesday — and potentially landing some additional financing as part of the event.

Bounce is one of Boston's most promising hardware startups. The small company is developing a tossable, baseball-sized orb that's embedded with cameras and other sensors. Pitch it into a dangerous situation, and it sends back panoramic pictures and data about what's happening there without putting people at risk. Bounce won a $50,000 cash prize in last year's MassChallenge competition, and Time Magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2012. Bounce operates out of space at Harvard's Innovation Lab in Cambridge and the MassChallenge headquarters in Boston; the startup has also been a participant in the Haverhill Hardware Horizons Challenge.

Aguilar says that since the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado, "unfortunately what we are doing is top-of-mind. The regular beat cop doesn't have access to the same kind of surveillance equipment a SWAT team would have, but they usually arrive at the scene first. Our device will be cheap enough to be in every squad car's trunk, so it can give them a view of what's going on before they have to go into an active-shooter type situation." Bounce's target price is around $500.

The company is building a handful of test units now, and plans to start working with New England law enforcement agencies this spring to see how the surveillance orb can be integrated into their work, and how it might be improved. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Aguilar says the main objectives are to talk with potential investors; meet prospective suppliers; and, of course, bask in a little media attention.

Aguilar's co-founder, David Young, won't be joining him in Vegas next week. The former Army Ranger, now an MBA student at MIT, will be heading north to Maine to attend a less glam — but probably more essential — gathering of SWAT teams.

A company-produced video is below:

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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