In addition to their latest flagship devices, Samsung has unveiled some unique and interesting products recently that expand the functionality of their smartphones, which include wearables, a virtual reality (VR) headset, and a 360-degree camera. The latter, named the Gear 360, takes spherical 360-degree photos that can be rotated to view a scene from different angles. While similar products, such as Google’s Photosphere, offers similar functionality, they can be difficult to use and inaccurate due to the fact that they require the user to rotate the device while capturing the shot, resulting in often jagged and warped images. The Gear 360 captures the entire shot at once, thereby eliminating the majority of flaws within the photos.
But the Gear 360 doesn’t stop at photos. It takes 360-degree videos as well, something not possible with a traditional camera or smartphone. To provide a demonstration of what a 360-degree video looks like, Samsung has released a series of 360-degree videos recorded on the Gear 360. The beautifully immersive videos include a time lapse of South Korea, as well as both a paramotor ride and a skydiving video filmed in Rio. Viewers watching the videos can take advantage of YouTube’s built-in 360-degree video support by dragging their mouse across the video to rotate the camera. And those with Google Cardboard or another VR headset can turn on the head-tracking feature to enable the ability to change their view from within the video by looking around in different directions. While a standard video only allows viewers to watch such experiences, 360-degree videos, particularly when viewed in VR, make the viewer feel like they’re actually experiencing what is happening.
Filming in 360 degrees is amazing in itself, but the possibilities it opens for VR is perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects. The Gear 360 will give users the ability to easily create their own content for homemade virtual experiences, which could possibly help VR gain popularity more quickly. The release date and pricing have not yet been officially announced for the Gear 360, but Samsung does list it as “available soon”. To see what it’s capable of, check out the videos below. Be sure to try dragging them with your mouse to fully explore the scene.