Full 360-degree video is having its moment, thanks in part to the proliferation of virtual reality headsets. But when it comes to creating 3-D, 360-degree video, price looked to be a barrier to all but professionals and fanatics. HumanEyes Technologies wants to change that.
The company, which previously focused on computer software and 3-D and animated content, is set to release the Vuze Camera this October for $799. It's higher end competition includes Facebook's 360-degree video capture system, which will cost up to $30,000 to build, and Nokia's $60,000 OZO camera.
“The 360 camera is growing much faster than anticipated and will become a commodity earlier than expected, thanks to the availability of major platforms that now support online players of 360 videos,” HumanEyes CEO and founder Shahar Bin-Nun says.
But Vuze also faces competition from cheaper entrants. Samsung's Ricoh, among others, have similar and smaller 360 cameras that cost under $400. Nikon will also release a camera that’s just as affordable, the KeyMission 360.
However, in comparison to these options, the Vuze shoots in 3-D and has more cameras that shoot in higher resolutions. Vuze has eight camera modules, rather than 16, Bin-Nun says, because developers wanted to mimic the human eye, which can only see 3-D up to about 15 meters. The camera will include a VR headset to view videos and includes an app to stream and view content.
Bin-Nun says his company recognized a demand for the technology in vertical markets such as real estate, professional photography and journalism. With time, Bin-Nun says, more consumers will be inspired to get into 360-degree content creation.
HumanEyes Technologies isn't relying on its competitive price alone. Facebook, Nokia or another technology company may follow suit with its own affordable camera. Bin-Nun isn't worried.
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“This is our core technology,” Bin-Nun says. “So we do have some advantage over some of the big companies,” pointing to more than 70 patents held by HumanEyes.
The idea for Vuze came after developers created an algorithm for it. Rather than simply sell the code, the company decided to bring its own hardware to the market.
“The software business was not enough. It wasn’t a viable business model for us,” Bin-Nun says. “This is a very good spot for us and it’s currently the first and, so far, only solution for 3-D 360 cameras for consumers.”