Nov 28, 2015 | By Andre

Ever since Stephen King’s Lawnmower Man hit the big screen when I was a child, the idea of a VR based future was something that was just around the corner (or so my ten year old self projected). But then the years went on. I gambled and lost with Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy. I later fell in love with the Matrix and Vanilla Sky but soon realized I might have to wait until the 24th century and Star Trek’s Holo-deck before my early 90s vision of VR could be realized.

But then a few years ago some things started to change. Augmented reality consumer devices started popping up and the Oculus Rift exploded on the crowd-funding scene (followed by a $2 billion acquisition by Facebook).

This was all happening in part because of the lower costs associated with powerful processors, tiny cameras and compartmental components available these days that just weren’t around before. Like so many technologies in the past, sometimes it just takes the perfect storm of cutting edge to allow old ideas to find shape.

All this said, most technology specific to virtual reality available today focus almost entirely on output. The capture of true 3D VR content is something else entirely and the LucidCam hopes to fill that void.

LucidCam is a portable, wifi-enabled 180° stereoscopic HD camera complete with spacial audio recording technology that captures our world in a more complete way than anything on the consumer market today.

And if the success of their still active Indiegogo campaign is any indication, there most definitely is a demand for what they have planned for us.

As for output, card board cutouts (think Google Cardboard) and a smartphone will get you started, but the 3D recordings will also work with other VR headsets on the market today.

The motivation behind the device found legs when CEO Han Jin’s desire to share his life’s experiences with his grandmother half-way around the world made him think.

"In other words, a grandson on the West Coast of the United States can create vivid videos for his grandmother in China to show her exactly what his world is like," he said. "And the grandmother can use something as simple as a cell phone paired with our various Cardboard and other viewing devices to look at the 3D 180-degree video. I know, because I'm that grandson.”

To me, I am just about certain that we’re on the cusp of VR technology to smash into the mainstream once and for all.

With 360° video becoming standard on Facebook and YouTube, and recent announcements by Oculus about their Rift, it’s all finally happening.

But just like any small technology development firm, it’s all about learning on the job. Jin has suggested he and his team have already made many changes to what they had originally envisioned with the LucidCam (wifi was never meant to be included at first for example).

"I always spend at least three to four hours every day with my customers, just talking to them one to one. One of the biggest pains I've come to realise from this campaign is how much it costs and how long it takes right now to create virtual reality content."

Tremendous efforts have been put towards ease-of-use, affordability, convenience and also a powerful software platform running behind the scenes to make possible the desired mass-adoption of LucidCam. And while the 16GB of internal storage seems a little on the low-side, the micro SD card expansion slot guarantees the device won’t be obsolete before it arrives (estimated July 2016).

Additionally, if expandable memory doesn’t intrigue you, the ability to combine three LucidCams using a 3D Printed mount for full 360° video capture should. It was paying attention to potential customer requests that moved the development team ahead with a 360° option.

Just like any crowd sourced hardware, there remains the possibility of delivery delays and setbacks. Additionally, other camera developers like GoPro already have wide-angle 360° multi-camera mounts available (although their devices don’t capture in 3D) so there’s a chance others will beat LucidCam to the finish line.

But hey, sometimes when dealing with bleeding-edge technology you just have to take a chance and hope for the best. The team behind LucidCam are technically diverse and talented in all the necessary fields one would expect from a product development team.

I’ve been hovering my cursor over the “Get This Perk” button on the Indiegogo site all evening. No matter what happens with the LucidCam in the coming year, it’s just about guaranteed that pandora’s box has finally been opened. The new age of virtual reality cometh.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Al WOlkow wrote at 4/5/2018 3:33:43 PM:

Wow, looks nice!

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