Facebook is so certain that virtual reality and 360-degree video will become mainstream that it has built its own camera to capture 3D images.
But rather than selling the device, called the Facebook Surround 360, and software, the social network plans to make the designs publicly available for free later this summer on the coding repository service Github.
Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox said at Facebook’s annual developer conference in San Francisco on Tuesday that the company “set out to build the perfect 360 camera.” The goal was to create a camera that captured immersive video that required very little post processing for high quality images.
By making the camera designs publicly available, Facebook is trying to encourage the development of lower-cost cameras. Greater public adoption would translate into more immersive footage that would in turn give people more reason to buy Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets.
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Cox said little about the actual hardware used to build the device, but said that it can record two hours of 360-degree video and that its image resolution is as high as 8K.
For more about Facebook and VR, watch:
In a blog post about the new camera, Facebook said that the video files can be viewed in VR headsets such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. It’s not clear at this time if Facebook will make the files compatible with competing VR headsets from Sony, HTC, and others.
From the Facebook blog post:
We want others to join us in refining this technology. We know from experience that a broader community can move things forward faster than we can on our own.