Facebook introduces 360-degree virtual reality camera

facebook 360 degree camera for VR content
Facebook's Surround 360 camera

Facebook has continued its investment in developing the virtual reality systems of the future with the introduction of its VR video camera, the ‘Surround 360.’

Facebook had been teasing users with glimpses of its 360-degree technology in its news feeds and presentations at the Mobile World Congress, but earlier this week it finally unveiled its 17-lens 3D 360-degree video capture system.

Featuring an open source design and software created on Github, the Surround 360 opens up the space for creating and sharing VR content in 4K, 6K and 8K outputs for headsets.

It incorporates fourteen cameras facing outwards in an arranged circular array, in addition to three fish eye cameras – one pointing upwards and two down below. The cameras are protected by an aluminium chassis with the outer housing crafted from powder-coated steel, which also functions to reduce camera shake.

All seventeen camera sensors shoot at 30 and 60 frames per second, working with a global shutter to capture each pixel at the same time for seamless stitching of footage. This also occurs through Facebook’s computational imaging algorithm.

Facebook will not be manufacturing or selling the device, but is hopeful the production-ready design will be adapted by those looking to branch out into capturing VR footage.