Facebook Announces ‘Surround 360’ Open Source VR Camera
Facebook is getting even more serious about 360-degree videos and content. At its developer conference, the social juggernaut announced the Surround 360, a 17-lens 3D VR camera. It’s not available commercially yet. but the company has opened the design for anyone to modify. All the parts can be bought later this summer for about $30,000. The hardware is also coupled with custom software that automatically stitches together the immense amount of high-resolution video the camera records, and permits wireless control of the camera. “We care a lot about just kickstarting and inspiring the ecosystem as much as we can,” said Chris Cox, chief product officer at Facebook. While the company isn’t manufacturing or selling the cameras, Cox says the team sees it as a high-end “reference camera” that the rest of the community could base their designs on. According to Cox, making VR video breaks down into three steps: capture, processing, and delivery. Facebook already has a clear advantage in the delivery of this content, so now the plan is to break down the barriers for capture and processing. Also at the conference, Facebook announced it was opening up Live Video feature to developers. This would allow developers to integrate live streaming into third-party apps and also stream from any device.