With a high-quality camera in seemingly everyone’s pocket these days, it takes quite a bit to really stand out, but startup Giroptic, headquartered in Lille, France, hopes to do it with a device capable of shooting 360-degree content.
The 360cam is a small, rubber-covered device, which looks like a lightbulb and can fit in the palm of your hand. This camera is designed to be versatile, capable of using a trio of 185-degree fisheye lens to capture photos, record video, which can later be shared through a microSD card, or stream video over WiFi, as well as using 3 microphones for surround sound. Management of the camera requires a laptop or smartphone, but can also be connected to a VR headset, if you have one. What is interesting is that Giroptic has designed it so that it can be used in a variety of places, whether out around town, in the home (they offer a special adapter for light-fixture, allowing it to act as a security camera), under water, etc. In terms of power, the device runs on a Lithium ion battery, which can be recharged through a micro USB port in its base.
Giroptic has mainly self-funded since the company was founded in 2008, but a representative of the startup tells me that they are in the process of closing a seed round. Like other hardware startups, they turned to crowdfunding to raise funds for production and to build buzz around their product, but, unlike countless other campaigns, their Kickstarter effort proved to be extremely successful, bringing in more than $1.4 million (nearly 10x the $150,000 that they sought) from more than 3,900 backers in July 2014. By all accounts, a great success for the startup. But hardware products can sometimes be tricky and, in this case, Giroptic has faced significant issues as it brings its product to market.
The representative says that, entering into the Kickstarter campaign, they believed that they were close to completing the final version of the device. They had created functional prototypes of the camera (same size and specs), but discovered problems as colors appeared differently under certain light conditions. This person continues, stating that they could have simply pushed out the product at that time, but they believed that it would only be fair to create the best camera possible and decided to replace several different components. They also encountered issues relating to production, as they handle all aspects of the design of their product in the main office and were forced to seek out a factory capable of mass-producing the cameras at the required quality. A trip into the comments on the startup’s Kickstarter page indicates that backers have long become impatient by the failure to deliver the product, which was due to be delivered around November 2014, but the representative from Giroptic acknowledges that they are aware of the frustration and assures me that everything is now set and the cameras will, finally, begin rolling in.
Those looking to pick up a 360cam can currently pre-order one through the startup’s site for $499.