While companies such as Nokia are offering expensive professional 360-degree cameras like the $60,000 Ozo, HumanEyes Technologies debuted the $1,000 Vuze Camera at CES. Aimed at the consumer market, the virtual reality device features eight high definition cameras that can capture stereophonic and spherical content in 4K by simply pointing and shooting.
The camera will ship in August in a bundle that includes a selfie stick and tripod, virtual reality head-mounted goggles, and access to the Vuze Studio software suite.
The Vuze Studio allows users to access their footage with near real-time processing (1 minute per minute) and seamlessly stitch the multiple camera perspectives together so they can be edited. The software uses a technique called adaptive blending, which mimics the way the human eye interacts with the brain to form pictures in the mind. This differs from conventional stitching techniques, which merge images together at regular linear points, and can result in images appearing slightly disjointed when they intersect detailed or complicated objects.
Within Vuze Studio, users can see any of the eight camera views, as well as preview and delete content. The software also allows the insertion of 3D objects, images, and text, which opens up mixed reality content.
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Vuze video content will support all virtual reality platforms, including Google (GOOG) Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Facebook (FB) Oculus Rift, Sony (SNE) PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. Content can also be viewed on any 3D-enabled device or TV.
Shahar Bin-Nun, CEO of HumanEyes Technologies, says the company has designed this camera for everyday consumers.
“Vuze has the potential to revolutionize the way people take, share, and experience pictures and video,” Bin-Nun says.
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According to Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which puts on CES, forecasts sales of VR and AR headsets will grow from approximately 200,000 in 2015 to over 1.2 million in 2016, which marks a 500% increase.
That gives camera companies a large audience to target, even before adding in the number of 3D-enabled devices and TVs on the market today.
“We’re seeing the VR camera market quickly diversify,” Clifton Dawson, CEO of Greenlight VR, says. “In 2015, the VR camera market was largely in professional-grade equipment and related services. But in 2016, we’ll see more consumer cameras, which provide non-professionals the ability to ‘point and shoot,’ quickly stitch and edit, and then share 360-degree content broadly.”
Dawson says there are strong indicators that there will be a large retail market in 2018-1019 and beyond.
“We see in our consumer insights data that there is strong interest by some potential early adopter segments to not only want to consume 360-degree video content, but also create it,” Dawson says. “In the near term, the challenges for camera manufacturers will be product awareness, cost, and retail distribution. Fortunately, we’re starting to see interesting partnerships already being formed at CES that will address some of these roadblocks.”