Tag Archives: immersive

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.

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GoPro HERO

The GoPro HERO is a new budget camera in the GoPro range. It takes 5MP (mega pixels) photos which can be recorded up to 5 frames a second and records video at 1080p30 and 720p60. With its rugged case it is waterproof to 40m.

The interface has been made easier with the new QuikCature mode which allows the user to power on the camera and start recording by pressing a single button. Pressing once records video, while holding the button down for 2 seconds starts to capture time lapse photos.

http://shop.gopro.com/EMEA/cameras/hero/CHDHA-301.html

The GoPro HERO costs £99.99.

Potential
The GoPro HERO has much of the same potential as the GoPro HERO4 which can be read here.

At only £100 its potential for budget wearable technology in archaeology is enhanced greatly, with the cost of 3 GoPro Heros being less than 1 GoPro Hero4.

Limitations
Up until now one of the major limitations of the GoPro has been the price, but with a GoPro costing £99.99 this drawback has been removed.

There are limitations to this budget model though, the camera is only 5MP as opposed to the GoPro HERO4 which is 12MP, which is quite a low level of recording for a modern digital camera. It will limit the amount of information recorded in a photograph, and hence any 3D models created from 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.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard are VR (Virtual Reality) goggles made out of cardboard using an android smart phone as the central processing unit and display via the Google Cardboard App. The cardboard shell can either be purchased for less than £10 complete with lenses and magnet button control or the cardboard design downloaded from the website and the other parts purchased separately.

The mobile phone provides you with orientation tracking using a gyroscope and accelerometer built into the phone which means that the the app can track the movement of the user’s head updating the imagery on the phone depending on the direction that the user is facing.

A magnetic trigger on the outside of the cardboard allows interaction with the VR environment by effecting the magnetometer in the phone. Although with calibrated magnetometers this can only act as a single button, with uncalibrated magnetometers incorporated in newer phone there is greater variety of abilities with the possibility of incorporating a joypad into the outside of the case.

The Google Camera App (On Android 4.4 and later) can record 360° Photo Spheres which can easily be viewed in the Google Cardboard App on the smartphone, other Photo Spheres can be viewed be editing their file names. The app can also view videos on YouTube including those designed for the Oculus Rift or other VR Gear with two separate views in the video. Integration with Google Earth and Google Maps Street View is also possible.

Two SDKs (Software Development Kits) can be downloaded from the website:

  • The first is the Cardboard SDK for Android which allows VR applications to be quickly created in OpenGL.
  • The second is the Cardboard SDK for Unity which allows an application created in the Unity 3D game engine to be viewed in the Google Cardboard Goggles or to design one from scratch.

Although designed for phones with the Android operating system, phones using iOS can also be used in the Google Cardboard using Durvois Dive (a plastic VR Goggle frame which also uses smartphones) apps.

Potential
Google Cardboard was designed to both allow the cheap and easy ability for almost anyone to view VR and to help push forward development of the systems.

It has the ability to both view virtual reconstructions of sites and view still 360° photographs and immersive videos of sites, these can easily be downloaded and viewed by anyone anywhere in the world using the technology. The fact that the phone can be used to create 360° Photo Spheres as well enables the both the recording and viewing of views of cultural heritage and excavations with technology that may already be owned.

Limitations
Because it uses a smartphone there are limitations to its abilities that would not be there with more powerful computer systems. The quality of the imagery is also completely dependent on the quality of the smartphone screen.

Although the control is limited to the one button on the outside of the Google Cardboard some wi-fi/bluetooth game controllers can be used with Android operating systems allowing much more interaction. There have however been problems with the button working, particularly on certain models, it is after-all a technical workaround to use a device for a function it was not designed for.

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

Leap motion controller

The Leap motion controller is a USB device that uses LEDs (light emitting diodes) and camera sensors to scan an area above the device tracking the movement of both hands and 10 fingers and translating their movement to the computer. The Leap Motion App Store has over 200 apps which interact with the software, including

An additional mount can be purchased which connects the Leap to the front of an Oculus rift allowing the control of a virtual environment.

The Leap Motion Controller costs €89.99, an additional mount for the Oculus Rift can be purchased for an additional €14.99 or together for €96.99. While an HP Leap Motion Keyboard can be purchased for €99.99.

Example
The potential of the Leap in the field of Spatial Augmented Reality within a museum environment has already been demonstrated with the MANAO Project as part of the V-MUST Project (Virtual Museum Transnational Network) where a Leap Motion Controller detects a finger that is pointed at an object replicating a virtual torch, the outline of the torch is displayed on the object using a video project which projects the original colours onto the surface of the object.
manao-capteur-en_large
This has already been used in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam as part of the Keys2Rome international exhibition, it can be seen at 1 minute 22 seconds in the following video.

Potential
The Leap has great potential for the control of both GIS and 3D modelling software where the movement and rotation of views could be controlled with simple hand movements. But it also has the ability to add interaction into a virtual reality environment by combining it with a system such as the Oculus Rift where immersive environments created from other recording techniques could be interacted with.

It is slightly larger than a USB stick and plugs into a USB cable with no other power requirements, so is very portable.

Limitations
The Leap is designed to read hand and finger movement, this of course limits what it can read unlike the Microsoft Kinect which can read whole body movement.