FREETHINKING THE FUTURE - Tom Lawton: Inventor of the BubbleScope®


Tom’s BubbleBlog provides an up to date catalogue of single-shot 360° panoramic images from Tom’s adventures around the planet. All images are captured with Tom’s extraordinary invention - the BubbleScope®, which is the world’s first handheld 360° digital camera for personal panoramic imaging - showcased at

Tom was photographed (above) in 2002 holding the Moonman - his artistic interpretation of his product vision for BubbleScope®.


Conventional photography is blinkered and is therefore subjective. You, the photographer, point your camera at a subject and shoot. The result is an image of a subject in no context to the scene from which you captured it. This is suited to many applications, where the photographer is a spectator and a camera’s tunnel vision is acceptable - but what do you do when the panoramic world around you is too much for the blinkered frame of your camera?

How do you capture the full picture when you climb to the top of a mountain? or sky dive from 10,000 feet? or witness an awe-inspiring sunset illuminating the horizon around you? or are simply enjoying the company of friends and family around you?

BubbleScope® is an all-seeing imaging device, which introduces a means of capturing these magic moments in their entirity, to be savoured forever.

BubbleScope® creates a point-of-view photography style where the entire scene surrounding the scope is captured in a moment - enabing you to share any point-of-view. This is perfect for any application where you want to share the full picture and are not just a spectator, but a participator.


The philosophy behind this unique concept was inspired by Tom’s experiences travelling and through witnessing a number of incredible vistas where his conventional 35mm camera just didn’t have the scope to capture the full picture.

Since the advent of photography, scientists, engineers and photographers have developed a variety of techniques for capturing a 360° panoramic field-of-view and while there are numerous examples of 360° imagery on the web, often referred to as Virtual Tours, the actual process of creating a 360° image is overly complicated, requiring expensive and cumbersome equipment. 360° and VR imaging remains an area of specialist expertise - it’s applications usually confined to the industries of real estate, tourism and surveillance.

In 2001, Tom realised the mass-market potential of 360° imaging and set about researching & developing a handheld panoramic digital camera, which was easy to use, could be operated with one hand and captures high quality MegaPixel images in a single-shot, with an all-seeing field-of-view.
The result of Tom’s work to date is a product which defines itself, not as a competitor to the camera, but as a next generation digital imaging device, which shoots bubble images for high resolution print and interactive display.

We all live in our own little bubble and the BubbleScope® presents a monumentous leap forward in digitally imaging it.

Tom Lawton’s company BubbleScope Ltd has developed the first generation BubbleScope® product - scheduled for worldwide launch in 2008.


Tom Lawton is a young British designer who leads his own independent research & development projects. Tom is best known, other than the odd urban legend, for inventing WakeYoo®, the recordable alarm clock, which he launched with Zeon Tech, UK and took to market in November 2000 -

QUICKTIME VR MOVIE - Use your mouse to interact with the 'immersive' panorama
To view the interactive content of this website you will require Apple QuickTime. This is available as a free download using the link (right).
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