If you’re the type to shudder at the mere mention of a trip to IKEA – if you’re currently suppressing memories of Sunday afternoons spent locked in an ungodly skirmish with a bunch of Allen keys and a sweat-stained BILLY bookcase instruction manual – then this one might not be for you. For everyone else, you may be interested to know that thanks to Facebook’s IKEA-style blueprint, you can now build your own Surround 360 camera. The Zuckerberg clan have handily uploaded the hardware and software designs of the camera to Github. Warning: it’s not for faint-hearted DIY-ers.
The design is basically 17 cameras on a UFO-stick-thing, but the parts will set you back a good $30,000. The camera’s 4-megapixel lenses can shoot 4K, 6K, or 8K 360 video, and FL’s favourite part is that it removes the pole blindspot by combining imagery from two fisheye lenses on the bottom. Once you’ve bought the parts, Facebook reckons it can be put together in a four-hour sitting – apparently that’s how long it took the random engineer they asked to trial build it. But FL isn’t quite sure four hours is a realistic proposition – these lama hooves aren’t the most dextrous things…
Facebook’s Brian Cabral says: “We set out to open source this and accelerate the development of this ecosystem and capturing 360 video. We believe it’s the first camera to be fully open sourced end-to-end. Build it yourself, modify it, make different versions — that’s the goal. We wanted to connect the world with rich, new media. This is how we can get there faster.”
So what’s in it for Facebook? Well, far be it from FL to suggest that Facebook wouldn’t open source their design out of pure altruism, but there’s plenty at stake for them if their users are 360-ready. Their goal is to have you filling its News Feeds, Oculus Rift, and Gear VR with original 360 content. FL is in no doubt that VR is the future (which one can only hope means more virtual Pacman) so we recommend giving this a go to stay ahead of the game.
Want to brush up on more of the latest in VR? Make sure you’ve read about the way eBay are using headsets to shape your future shopping experience.