Did Samsung Just 'Rip Off' This Award-Winning British Inventor's 360-Degree Camera?

By Matt Hill on at

We're big fans of serial designer Tom Lawton, the Wiltshire-based tech brain behind the Green Dot Award-winning Firewinder wind light and the popular BubbleScope 360-degree still and video camera attachment for smartphones.

Hell, when I was at T3 we put him in our Great British Tech List two years running for the same product – that'll be the BubbleScope – as he had developed such a unique accessory and iterated it so well.

Yet Lawton is not happy about Samsung's upcoming, rather aesthetically familiar Project Beyond camera. Indeed, he just posted the comparison photo above on his Instagram page with this comment:

I've learned to take it as a compliment when someone copies my work (as an independent inventor what hope do I have of defending myself with the game so heavily stacked against me). It just verifies my stance as someone visionary. This isn't arrogance talking, it's fact. Inventors like me are still struggling, still underdogs, still impoverished. Still busting their balls to make dreams come true and create wealth from applied creativity and intellect. But when a massive giant like Samsung looks through my portfolio and rips off one of my designs from over a decade ago and passes it as their own innovation. Well, I rightly get the hump. I can't even afford to write them a letter. But that doesn't mean I will bend over. I will just dig deeper, work harder & fight for the rights to tell my story and one day, yes one day, people will know my name as someone original who at the very least tried!

The two do look very similar indeed – startlingly so in the shot above. However, while details on the upcoming Project Beyond are still fairly scant, Samsung reckons it uses 16 Full HD cameras all of its own – the BubbleScope utilises your smartphone's – and the promo videos suggest Beyond is a rather large, free-standing device, not a small accessory. What say you?

Thanks for the tip Jordan