Facebook has built its own 360-degree stereoscopic 3D video camera.
The company calls this new device the Facebook Surround360, and this summer, it will give away both the camera’s hardware designs and the complex software that weaves the camera’s myriad images into one complete three-dimensional landscape. Yes, it will give them away—for free.
Built from off-the-shelf hardware worth roughly $30,000, this black circular camera—with its 17 evenly spaced lenses—looks kinda like the flying droid that descends onto the ice planet at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (though it lacks those insect-like dangly legs). Drawing images from all 17 of those lenses, it produces 360-degree spherical video for viewing both inside virtual reality headsets like the Samsung Gear (stereoscopic 3D) and on ordinary smartphones, tablets, and PCs (monoscopic). Similar videos are already popping up in News Feeds on the Facebook social network.