Tag Archives: 360˚

PlexiDrone

The PlexiDrone is an Indiegogo drone project aimed at film makers and aerial photographers.

The system comes in two different configurations; the x4 has four rotors while the x8 has 8, four above and four below. As a result they have different flight characteristics.

  • Flight time – 25 mins x4, 20 mins x8
  • Speed – 37 mph x4, 42mph x8
  • Thrust – 2.35 kg x4, 4.1 kg x8

It’s other specifications include:

  • Follow me technology
  • Retractable landing gear allowing an unobstructed view below the drone enabling a 360˚ camera gimbal
  • SwarmTech allowing multiple drones to be controlled and film the same subject matter
  • Object avoidance using ultrasonic sensors which can sense up to 32 ft. (10 m)
  • The market version will include a bottom facing ultrasonic sensor which will help control altitude and lower the landing gear when required
  • It will also include a front-facing and bottom facing optical flow sensor helping with stability when indoors and without a GPS signal
  • The PlexiDrone allows modular payloads including:
    1. PlexiDrone 3D Gimbal which carries a GoPro
      PlexiCinema 3D Gimbal which carries mirror-less cinema-quality cameras like the Sony A5000, Sony RX100 III, and Lumix GM5
      Bubl 360˚ Camera
      Sony ActionCam
  • PlexiGCS control App on iOS, Android or Windows
  • Snap together construction fits into the PlexiPack or PlexiPack Mini custom made backpack
  • PlexiFPV Real-time video which simply snaps onto the PlexiDrone
  • The system will work with standard RC (Radio Control) controllers
  • 3-axis camera stabilisation

The PlexiDrone comes in a number of buying packages as a quadcopter and as an octocopter.

  • The Standard package comes without a gimbal for $699
  • The Pro package comes with a gimbal for $799
  • The Swarm Pro pack with 3 PlexiDrones and a PlexiHub to control them for $2,499
  • The 3D gimbal can be purchased for $159 which will carry a GoPro or other action camera
  • The PlexiCinema 3D gimbal can be purchased for $349
  • The PlexiFPV first person view system can be purchased for $215
  • The system can be upgraded to an octocopter for $199 by replacing the single rotor snap-on arms with dual ones

Potential
Due to the fact that the PlexiDrone is aimed at aerial photography rather than another discipline it is better suited to the recording of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology. As well as having a number of different photographic platforms available it also has technology such as follow me, obstacle avoidance, optical flow sensors and swarm capabilities which add to its potential for recording in different environments. Some of these technologies are only available on the much more expensive DJI Aspire 1.

The retractable landing gear allows for much more freedom of movement in the camera gimbal which can record 360˚ around the horizontal access and 180˚ in the vertical without any of the drone appearing in the photographs.

The snap together construction of the PlexiDrone allows for easy packing into a backpack style storage system which appears easily portable.

The fact that the system has easily interchangeable payloads allows for much more flexibility in recording than other systems. It can carry a GoPro like all of the other cheap drone systems, but can also carry heavier cameras with better optics and higher megapixels allowing greater quality recording and it can also carry the bubl 360˚ camera as well adding 360˚ recording to its abilities.

The swarm capabilities allows multiple drones to record the same subject from different directions, increasing the speed of recording and the amount recorded.

Limitations
Using the swarm capability obviously adds significantly the cost.

Although it can carry more complex digital cameras it cannot carry the heavier high-spec digital SLR cameras.

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Kodak PixPro SP360 Action Cam

The Kodak PixPro SP360 is an action camera aimed at the extreme sports recording market.

It is able to record 360º 10MP photographs and Full HD 1080p Video using its curved lens. Using the Pixpro Remote Viewer App it connects to other devices with iOS, Android or Windows operating systems using Wi-fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) allowing both control of the camera and viewing of the images/videos. The images/vidoes can be viewed in a number of different modes – ring, dome, front 180º and rear 180º, 360º panorama and globe. The system also has motion detector sensor which starts recording when motion is detected.

Much like the GoPro camera the system comes with a number of accessories for attaching it to different devices as well as a waterproof case which aare available in the different bundles.

The PixPro SP360 costs $349 for the Explorer bundle for entry-level and the Aqua bundle for watersports and $399 for the Extreme Accessories bundle.

Potential
The camera is able to record much more than a standard camera without the requirement for multiple cameras and the images/videos created can be viewed/exported in a number of different modes. It is water resistant, can be attached to a UAV or a person allowing a wide range of recording possibilities.

Limitations
Although the system can record a 360º view images/videos with the camera pointing upwards it is only able to record a 214º images/videos while pointing towards a subject. The distortion of a domed lens may also impact on the quality of the results.

360cam

The 360cam kickstarter project is a 360˚ Full HD camera, it is designed to take 360˚ horizontally and 300˚ vertically photographs and video with the systems 3 185˚ fisheye lens 8mpx cameras.
It provides images at a 4096 x 2048 resolution and video at 2046 x 1024 resolution at 30 fps h.264 mp4 and can record video for 60 minutes. The system can stitch images together in real time inside the camera, the files can also be exported to other 360˚ photo and video software. It also has the ability to stream Live video over WiFi.

During the recording process multiple images can be taken at different exposure levels providing high dynamic range photographs, which allows more variation in texture and colour to be recorded which can be used in the study of archaeology and cultural heritage.

The WiFi allows the 360cam to be controlled remotely with Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets.

http://www.360.tv/


One of the accessories for the 360cam is an underwater lens cup allowing 360˚ photographs and video to be taken underwater.
360cam lens cup
It can be easily attached to another kickstarter project, the HERO+ intelligent drone, with an optional mount for an additional $80.

With the 360cam Oculus Rift video player it is possible to view the immersive videos created using the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.
Oculus Rift

The system costs $499.

Potential
The 360cam has great potential for the immersive recording of everything from archaeological excavations to walk-throughs of historic monuments. Its ability to be simply played in an Oculus Rift player adds significantly to the presentation possibilities of the video, although the current Oculus Rift Development Kit is another $350. The underwater lens cap allows the recording of photographs and video underwater adding potential for maritime archaeology.

Whether the overlap of the individual images can be used to create a photogrammetry model of the subject matter of the recording will have to be tested.

Limitations
The cameras of the 360cam are only 8mpx so the images provided would be of a much lower size than the similar Panono Camera.

Only a mount for the HERO+ drone can be purchased, but a mount for other UAVs could be printed using a 3D printer or manufactured in another way.

Panono Camera

The Panono is an Indiegogo crowdsourcing project to create a camera ball which records 108 megapixel, 360° x 360° full-spherical panoramic images with 36 separate cameras built into the ball. It is thrown into the air and an accelerometer calculates when it is at the peak of its height and takes the photographs. Photographs can also be taken with the Panono in hand or mounted on a pole.

The results can be previewed in the iOS and Android Panono App with stitching available in the Cloud.

http://www.panono.com/ballcamera/

The Panono Camera costs €549.

Example
An example panono panorama of Grunewald Tower in Berlin taken with an octocopter (drag mouse to rotate image).Grunewaldturm Tower

Potential
The Panono camera has potential to aid in recording, post-excavation work and and visualisation of sites. Its ability to quickly record 360° panoramic images can allow important/complicated areas of an excavation to be recorded in a moment and later viewed when post-excavation work is being carried out allowing the easy visualisation of what is being written up. They can also be put on websites to show the site to the public and aid with their interaction with archaeology.

Limitations
The camera is aimed at use by the public for recording things they find of interest and is of limited use as it only takes static photographs in one place unlike the similar 360cam.

Eye Mirror 360º Lens

The Eye Mirror is a series of panoramic lenses that can be attached to existing cameras allowing a 360º view to be recorded, it was funded as a Kickstarter Project. The images/videos can be processed in real time in the web browser version of the software or the Android or iOS app,
producing a rectangular 360º product. The 360 lens video publisher software gives the ability to sharpen, brighten, add contrast and reduce video noise and output the video as a flv, mov or avi file in various compression ratios. The software costs $99.

Eye Mirror
The Eye Mirror attaches to a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), video cameras and underwater cameras, it screws into the camera filter thread on most cameras although adapters are available.

GP 360
The GP 360 is designed to work with the GoPro series of camera, although a modification to the GoPro is required.

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It cost $249.

Wet Lens
This is a sealed version of the lens designed for underwater work and can be screwed onto the front of many underwater cameras.

It costs $450.

Potential
The system provides the ability to record 360º photographs/videos with existing cameras, enabling the immersive viewing of both Archaeology site and Cultural Heritage. The created photos/videos can be viewed in a number of ways including the Oculus Reality VR (Virtual Reality) headset.

Limitations
In order to use the GoPro lens the camera lens needs to be replaced with a custom replacement lens provided by the company, although if damage is sustained during the process the company will fix the camera, or the company will do the replacement for a fee of £40. A firmware update needs to also be conducted.

Bublcam

The Bublcam is a Kickstarter 360º camera which records spherical photographs and videos for everything from photographic enthusiasts to baby monitoring.

The Bublcam utilizes 4 190º, 1.6 megapixels lenses to capture an overlaping digital bubble. The sensor captures 5 megapixels allowing a 3840 X 3840 as a 14 megapixel multiplexed photo to be created and has high quality low-light vision. The system can also export both panoramic and HDR (High Dynamic Range) photographs. It’s tri-axial accelerometer can assist with stabilizing images when the the orientation is changed. It is capable of recording video at 30fps at 720p or 15fps at 1080p and exports MP4 format.

The sensor OmniVision will allow the user to set gamma, contrast, gain, brightness and saturation.

The internal Bublcam Wi-fi unit will allow the video to be streamed to a PC, Mac, and mobile devices on iOS or Android using the bublApp, VLC or Quicktime. Live video stitching will be available at some point.

The Bublcam costs $699 and will begin shipping in spring 2015.

Potential
The fact that Bublcam is leveraging the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion APIs (application programming interface) means that Bublcam photographs and videos can be viewed within the Oculus Rift and controlled remotely with the Leap Motion hand tracking controller.

The Bublcam can be attached to UAVs recording both photographs and video while in the air – http://www.bublcam.com/portfolio/bubl-takes-flight/ – indeed the PlexiDrone is designed to carry the Bublcam as a payload with a dedicated mount.
Bublcam PlexiDrone mount

It can also be worn on top of a helmet allowing wearable recording to be conducted.

Limitations
The relatively low level of image quality, together with the fact that the system is designed to create a panoramic photo bubble, may limit its potential for use with other techniques such as photogrammetry

News – Google Street View Trekker

Google has announced that their Street View Trekker backpack will be available to borrow by organisations including tourism boards, non-profit organisations, government agencies, universities or research groups. The Trekker bacpack was designed to enable the recording of areas of the world where the Google Street View Car could not reach, so that the imigary could be incorporated in Street View within Google Maps.

The Street View Trekker backpack consists of a dome of 15 5-megapixel digital cameras which record images every 2.5 seconds as a person walks forward, two GPS receivers which log the location data, two SSD (Solid State Drivves) which store the data and dual lithium batteries which allow 8 hours of recording. The images are procecssed into 360 panoramas when the system is returned to the office. The system weighs 42 pounds.

Potential
With a partnership with Google heritage bodies have the ability of recording walkthoughs of important monuments easily with advanced digital technology which can be incorporated into the free Google Maps system; and as of December 2014 Historic Scotland have taken advantage of this showcasing 16 of their properties.

The system provides quality site tours of important cultural heritage which can be viewed by anyone using the Street View system.

Limitations
As the system is ground based only views from this angle will be recorded, meaning that informaion from other angles is lost.

The cameras are only 5-megapixel, which work well for the intended purpose of creating web accessible 360° panoramas, but limits their usefullness for other techniques such as photogrammetry.