Social media giant Facebook’s foray into the virtual reality (VR) industry has been sizeable. Since purchasing Oculus VR for $2 billion USD the company has instigated 360-videos to its site as well as developing a 360-degree camera, the Surround 360. Today Facebook officially open-sourced the specs for Surround 360 enabling anyone to build the device.
The company has put all of its hardware and software designs on Github, with a step by step guide on how to build it. Featuring 14 cameras around the middle, 2 underneath and one on top with 4-megapixel lenses, the Surround 360 will be able to shoot 4K, 6K, or 8K 360-degree video with no blindspots.
“We believe making the camera design and stitching code freely available on GitHub will accelerate the growth of the 3D-360 ecosystem — developers will be able to leverage the code, and content creators can use the camera in their productions. Anyone will be able to contribute to, build on top of, improve, or distribute the camera based on these specs,” said Forrest Briggs on the Facebook listing.
And content is going to be key if VR is going to take off in the way Facebook hopes with all the investments its made. YouTube became the behemoth it is today through user generated content and making a freely available design definitely won’t hurt, just look at Google Cardboard.
But the Surround 360 is going to cost a lot more to build, and its going to be companies and professionals with some serious cash to spend – there are 17 cameras in the design – who’ll most likely build the unit.
Everyday consumers will have to stick with single or duel lens designs like the Samsung Gear 360, Ricoh Theta S, 360fly and others which all cost less than £500GBP/$500 USD, if they want to shoot immersive videos.
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