At Lenovo’s Tech World came and went yesterday without the bombshell announcement we were expecting to hear. Instead the company focused on the launch of its Tango powered phone as well as a new VR gaming PC, but the companies plans for VR in the future go much farther.
Speaking with representatives from Lenovo, UploadVR has learned that the company is developing a 360-degree live streaming camera targeted at the consumer market. Lenovo wasn’t ready to discuss details on price or availability, but we were able to find out just what makes this camera so special. Unlike other cameras on the market, Lenovo’s upcoming device allows you to live stream directly from the camera without any wires or stitching boxes.
In order to accomplish this, the camera utilizes Movidius’ Myriad 2 processor, which handles all of the onboard stitching and distortion correction. These two processes are typically very computationally heavy which is why many cameras utilize either a stitching box attached to the camera (like the Orah) or utilize software on a phone or PC (like Samsung’s Gear 360). With Lenovo’s camera however, all you will have to do is set it somewhere, press a button, and it will start live streaming. It is the type of easy to use device that could help power VR content creation into the mainstream.
The camera is part of “a suite of VR centric products” coming from the partnership between Lenovo and Movidius, though neither company would elaborate further on what those products will be.
User generated content is going to be one of the things that helps drive VR into the mainstream. Photos and videos have been a fine way to share memories until this point but they only offer a snapshot of what was happening in the moment. 360 video and photos, combined with the power of VR, can help teleport you into the past and with Lenovo’s upcoming camera – into the present.
On stage at Mobile World Congress earlier this year Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke openly about why he believes 360 video and VR are going to be so important and impactful:
“I think about my baby daughter,” he said, “and the way I want to remember when she takes her first step. When I took my first steps, my parents just took a pen and wrote the date down in a baby book … when my cousin, when her son took his first steps, she took a photo with a camera. My sister, when her son took his first steps, she took a video on her phone. But I want to capture the whole scene. So I hope we can take a 360 video. That way, even if my parents and my family aren’t there to experience it in person, they can feel like they’re right there with us. VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want.”
In the last year, Facebook added support for both 360 video and photos, along with its Facebook live platform. While Facebook currently doesn’t support live 360 video, it seems like it is only a matter of time it does – especially with YouTube announcing support for live streamed 360 video back in April.
Lenovo’s step forward with this camera could only mean great things for the maturing VR industry. Watch this space closely.