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20 April 2017, 03:56 | Jodi Jackson
Facebook unveils new 360° cameras
Virtual reality has an image problem.
While plenty of cameras out there capture spherical footage of real-life scenes that you can then look at in VR (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: The 360-Degree Selfie"), majority don't also capture depth data. The company plans to get them into production later this year.
The x24 has a 24-camera array laid out in an orb, rather than the original 17 cameras arranged in a saucer-shape, while the x6 has six cameras. You'll still need a headset that can track your position in space and the rotation of your head, though, to really take advantage of the footage. But it's only now that we are beginning to understand the bigger picture that Facebook has been working on.
"We're trying to make it as close as you can to feeling like you're there."
. It's a virtual reality application the social networking company launched in beta that allows groups of up to four people to hang out with one another around a virtual table surrounded by a 360-degree photo or video.
While the X24 and X6 are meant for professionals, Schroepfer said the technology will eventually lead to consumer products as well.
Unlike the previous Surround 360 camera reference design that the company announced past year, the new x24 and x6 cameras are actual physical models that you can buy or rent-if you're a filmmaker with a big budget, that is.
The social network is kicking off the second day of its (mostly) annual F8 developer conference, and buried in a flurry of updates and sessions there was an announcement that the Surround 360, which Facebook unveiled a year ago as an open-source VR camera for others, has a successor. The Oculus Rift, for instance, would work. Instead, it is the new 6DoF, which translates to six degrees of freedom inside any VR scene.
According to Facebook, "The new camera technology lets you move around within the video scene and experience the content from different viewing angles". However, Facebook's latest systems go one step further, giving the user the ability to physically move around a VR scene.
"The idea is to have multiple models of growing the ecosystem", he said.
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