CES 2018: Lenovo’s VR180 Mirage Camera Starts Under $300

by Ian Hamilton • January 9th, 2018

Lenovo revealed its 180-degree stereoscopic Mirage Camera will start selling Q2 this year starting under $300 for a Wi-Fi only version.

The company is also planning a cellular version of the camera but it is unlikely to release in the United States. The Mirage Camera is integrated with Google Photos and YouTube for the private storage or public sharing of footage or 3D photos captured with the camera. It can stream live video over Wi-Fi on its own but a forthcoming VR180 app from Google is said to allow you to preview photos and videos on your phone’s screen.  The camera includes 16 GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a 128 GB microSD card. It weighs 139 grams, making it small enough to fit in a pocket and it charges using USB Type-C. It also includes a removable battery.

The Mirage Camera is one of the first gadgets to embrace Google’s VR180 format which aims to hit a sweet spot for capturing memories. The cameras use a pair of super wide angle lenses (with 13 megapixel sensors) to capture 180 degrees of action in stereoscopic 3D.

Lots of cameras launched in the last year that record 360 degrees of action. While you can view these videos on normal computer and phone screens, when viewed in a VR headset people infrequently turn all the way around to view all the action. Most often, viewers stay facing forward. Further, some of these cameras are monoscopic so they don’t provide a 3D picture — a limit which arguably defeats the purpose of capturing that kind of panoramic video or photo in the first place.

Cameras embracing the VR180 format are trying to hit a sweet spot offering low cost and convenience while capturing a stereoscopic image for each of your eyes. So viewing these photos and videos in a VR headset should offer a convincing 3D effect while giving people the added immersion of being able to look around the scene a bit.

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