Digital 360 Degree Camera
Everyone is in the shot!
Historically, documenting a family event always meant someone was not in the picture. Cameras have advanced, making it easier to shoot video, and capture daily moments, but they still never solved this problem, without the narcissism of a “selfie” and the limits of its scope of view.
Simplifying life is the goal of most modern designers. That’s what this story is about. Shoot 360˚ videos without building jigs and using stitch software. Just place-and-shoot. Designing the whole product as a symphony of hardware and software, and optics and electronics, we created a product that is so simple to use that it seems like an extension of life.
One morning over coffee, the VSN team talked about a solution: shooting video on a prime lens opening and doing it 360 degrees. Nothing would ever be missing from the scene again, because the scene would be everywhere.
We knew it needed to be one camera, with the highest resolution possible. It would also have to integrate current technology giving it the ability to shoot 360˚, in horizontal, with a 35mm lens equivalent, and also stream video to a smartphone app to be uploaded to the cloud. Since we were shooting for the stars, we also wanted it to stream between smartphones and allow for remote access at the same time, all while being waterproof and rugged enough to go anywhere. This became our product brief.
Why did we want a camera that shoots in 360 with a vertical field of view similar to a 35mm lens? Not because we could but because we should. Once we embraced the advancement in technology, we became aware of what was possible, and what we knew should be expected: shoot 360˚ video with a “prime” lens. We also wanted to let you share your video as it happens to the people around you. Let them simply see the video stream to let everyone into the creation of the video. By making the camera a server, everyone can connect and participate in the ongoing event.
From that moment until today we adopted and re-purposed technology to fit the mold we were creating and constructed a camera that shoots video 360 degrees, capturing everyone and everything, you included. No more missed shots, no more being out of the picture.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
We created a camera that does not need to stitch multiple video streams to create 360 degree content, a camera that lets you point and shoot, choose the clip and upload without the need for costly hardware and professional software. Use professional software if you need but the product itself does not limit you.
We created a Bluetooth remote, which can awaken the camera at any moment without the need of your phone or tablet. Take a video, snap a picture or do both concurrently, easily done by the simple remote we created to accompany the camera. This way, even recording 360˚ video becomes simple.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Whether you extreme sport, video chat with family or need to keep an eye on the nanny, the v360 is for you. The camera can be set on time-lapse, burst, continuous or surveillance modes.
In time-lapse mode the camera takes pictures at a preset interval and outputs them to video.
In burst mode the camera shoots five consecutive images, shareable as a gif to your favorite social site.
Continuous mode is self-explanatory yet worthwhile to note that you can snap pictures while the video is recording without stopping.
In surveillance mode the camera records in a continuous loop to the SD card.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started and finished in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA from September 2013 to August 2014. The camera is currently found on Amazon.com and other retailers.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Milled from Aircraft Grade Aluminum, the main body incorporates the heat sink necessary to cool the electronics for proper function. The custom-designed optics are composed of seven glass and acrylic lenses, together with optical mirrors and an optically-designed clear polycarbonate outer lens. The remote is crafted from milled aircraft grade aluminum and rubber dual-shot, all molded in one single tool for minimization of parts and lower environmental impact.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
56mm x 101.8mm (287cc), 230g, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 processor, 2.3 GHz Quad-core, 360° with 60° FOV, fixed f/2.8 aperture, Up to 6480 x 1080 HD @ 30fps, Up to 8MP still image, Supports up to 128G Micro SD (Class 10, UHS 1 or higher), 4GB ROM, Micro USB 3.0 with SuperSpeed support, HDMI v1.4a, BT 4.0 & BT 3.0, 2.4 GHz & 5.0 GHz 802.11 b/g/n,
GPS, barometer, altimeter, accelerometer, 2610mAh Li-ion
V360, v360life, 360HD, 360 video HD, 4K sensor
We wanted the camera to be life-proof out of the box: durable, waterproof and easy to use. To achieve this we milled the body from aircraft grade aluminum.We used multiple, high quality seals at all the joints, Gore-tex® membranes on the microphone ports and quality, optical clear polycarbonate material for the lens. With the first prototype we encountered reflections of the environment, since controlling light leakage is not possible with shot framing. Using ProE® and keyshot® we were able to quickly calculate, make changes and simulate what we were going to see and arrive at a workable solution in a significantly shorter timeframe.
Achieving a balance of technology vs. size vs. usability all the while providing a pleasant user experience was quite challenging. By setting clear, well thought out expectations, we were able to formulate the technology to fit an ultra-compact package while still maintaining design integrity and material awareness.
The need to have a waterproof camera created its own challenges. Our goal was that the camera would be protected up to 3 feet underwater to benefit scuba divers, snorkelers and others who want to capture underwater life. Or to leave it under the sprinkler system in the yard and let the kids play to their heart’s content. We made the idea a reality by working with both engineering and manufacturing to squeeze as much performance out of it while meeting our needs. At a critical moment in our development we encountered some unwanted reflections. We had to creatively think out of the box to solve that hurdle.
TEAM MEMBERS (7) :
VSN Mobil – team, Claudio Ribeiro, Raul E. Chinda, Billy Robertson, Peter Aloumanis, Felippe Bicudo and Vinosh Diptee