With tools such as the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift moving into the mainstream, panoramic video and imagery are increasingly becoming necessary perspectives rather than mere visual curios.
Helping to meet that need is a new Kickstarter-backed panoramic video camera called the 360cam.
Created by France-based Giroptic, the tiny device might remind you of the roof-mounted camera seen on Google Street View cars. But this isn't a tool for large corporations; it's designed for the average user.
Housed in a blue and black plastic egg-like shell, the device allows you to capture 360-degree HD video and photos, all while delivering the device's current status on its surface via LED display. The display can indicate the camera's current mode (Time Lapse, Burst, Photo, Video, Live) and count down during timed photos.
Oculus owners can view live panoramic video through the 360cam's Oculus Rift video player. And, because the 360cam is waterproof, it offers the potential of virtual trips under the surface, for the first time. To enhance the visual clarity of underwater shots, the device also comes with a unique set of goggles for its lenses.
The device comes with a free Android and iOS app that allows you to remotely control the 360cam's photo, video, GPS and gyroscopic settings, as well as giving you the ability to use your smartphone as a viewfinder. It also boasts three embedded microphones, Micro USB charging port, and SD card slot (up to 64GB), and a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can maintain about one hour of video shooting at 25 frames per second (assuming Wi-Fi is not enabled).
The 360cam can also serve as a surveillance device, thanks to an adapter that allows you to connect the device to a regular lightbulb socket. That means you can use the 360cam to remotely keep an eye on any room you install it in.
A few weeks ago, we saw a similar device called the Centr Cam, developed by a team of former Apple employees. But at time of writing, with only eight days to go, that Kickstarter campaign has raised roughly $500,000 of its $900,000. By contrast, the 360cam quickly blew past its goal of $150,000 — earning nearly $180,000 with 43 days of crowdfunding left.
"We have a wider field of view, 360x150 vertical, covering almost the full sphere, [and] we have a gyroscope for image stabilization," a Giroptic spokesperson told Mashable when asked to list differences between the two products.
Early backers of the device will receive the 360cam in August, and the company expects to start selling the camera in November for about $499.