Google unveiled at CES a pair of point-and-shoot stereoscopic 180 cameras from Lenovo and Chinese camera manufacturer YI Technology. The cameras, respectively called the Lenovo Mirage and the Yi Horizon, are the first consumer cameras in Google’s growing VR180 camera platform.
Delivering high quality 360 video is tough. Most consumer hand-held 360 cameras top out at 4K resolution and are usually monoscopic, two facts that don’t always make for the highest quality VR viewing experience. To remedy this, Google is assembling a number of VR180 cameras which put 4K resolution in a front-facing half-sphere, hypothetically making visual clarity two times higher than contemporary 360 cameras. The cameras’ ability to take locally-stored and streaming stereoscopic video/images is another feature aiming to increase VR immersion, making for a truly VR-first camera solution.
Google says the Lenovo Mirage Camera and YI Technology’s YI Horizon VR180 Camera will hit shelves starting this spring, with a third camera coming from LG later this year. No pricing info is available yet on either Lenovo or Yi VR180 camera, but the company says they’ll be offering up more info in the near future.
Google also worked to include the professional-level Z Cam K1 Pro into the VR180 platform, and is working with Panasonic to include support in their GH5 cameras.
Footage taken with the cameras can be viewed in 2D on mobile or desktop devices (example below), but the real usecase here is watching the 180 3D video in VR headsets like Cardboard or Daydream. Essentially any headset with the ability pull content from services like YouTube and Google Photos should hypothetically be able to view the videos/images however.