Ever wanted to create your own Google Street View photos? How about revisit a past vacation, but instead of regular photos and video, you can see everything that was going on all around you?
That's a bit of what Giroptic aims to deliver with its palm-sized 360cam.
Although it's on Kickstarter (and now fully funded), the 360cam isn't Giroptic's first camera. The company began in 2008, but its cameras were geared toward commercial purposes, like creating virtual tours. While the 360cam could be used for such things, its definitely made for consumer use.
The 360cam -- it measures just 2.7 inches high by 2.7 inches wide (6.9x6.9cm) -- uses three, f2.8 lenses each with a 180-degree field of view. Behind each lens is an 8-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. Below each lens is a microphone.
The result is the capability to capture full 360-by-300-degree field of view HD video at 25fps or 30fps with a resolution of 2,048x1,024 pixels and surround sound, as well as 4,096x2,048-resolution photos at 3 frames per second.
There are time-lapse and HDR photo modes and all pictures can be geotagged automatically and are Google PhotoSphere compatible. In fact, one of Giroptic's goals is to be 100 percent compatible with Google Street View.
The 360cam has built-in Wi-Fi that will let you livestream video or remotely control the camera with an iOS or Android app.
All of the image stitching is done in camera and the MP4 video and JPEG images can be viewed with any player or image editor.
Giroptic has a proprietary player that will give you the best experience. With its app, for example, you can view the world in your shots by raising, lowering, and rotating your device's screen around you. You can view samples on its site.
However, the 360cam files are standard equirectangular projections, so you can use most 360-degree video and photo players. They're also compatible with Oculus Rift.
The 360cam's base hosts a microSD card slot (up to 64GB supported) and a user-replaceable battery and there's a standard tripod mount on the bottom. That base can be swapped for other things, such as a light bulb socket adapter, so, for example, you can use the socket of a table lamp to power the camera.
An Ethernet base will also be available that can supply both power and network access so you can livestream video without worrying about a wireless connection or battery life. (By the way, continuous recording time without Wi-Fi is expected to be about 60 minutes with the supplied battery.)
The 360cam Kickstarter will ship in November if everything goes as planned. Once the Kickstarter ends it'll be $500, but you can get one of the first ones out the door for $300.