The virtual reality cameras are coming: 360Cam passes Kickstarter goal in a day

The 360Cam, which hit its $150,000 goal on Kickstarter today, isn’t the first 360 degree camera to pop up on a crowdfunding site. But the team behind it at Giroptic pitches a more unusual application: virtual reality. For $249 to $329, anyone can shoot 360 degree video for Oculus Rift and the coming range of competitors.

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Last month I wrote about Jaunt, a startup that wants to create beautiful cinematic film for Oculus Rift. Their demo made a compelling case for film as a virtual reality application; like gaming, it just works in 360 degrees.

But Jaunt’s camera and editing software will be aimed at professionals at first. Models accessible to individuals could be years away. In the meantime, Oculus Rift and other competitive virtual reality headsets could find their way into consumer’s hands in the next year.

The 360Cam can shoot video or photos. It uses three microphones to capture 360 degree sound. It is also waterproof; for an extra fee, buyers can purchase tiny goggles that correct the cameras’ lenses underwater. It’s not meant for only virtual reality; photos and videos can be viewed on mobile devices and desktop computers as well.

A sample view of the 360Cam app. Photo courtesy of Giroptic.

A sample view of the 360Cam app. Photo courtesy of Giroptic.

The 360Cam won’t shoot nearly the same quality of video as Jaunt and some of the existing ball cameras as it relies on just three cameras lenses, distorting the resulting image. But it’s a cheap option that could satisfy the curiosity of early venturers into virtual reality video.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through July 4. The cameras will ship in November.