GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has announced that the company has developed new hardware for capturing spherical photos and videos, signifying a move into the virtual reality market.
Speaking in an on-stage interview at the Re/code Code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Woodman discussed the Six-Camera Spherical Array, a rig that will accommodate six high-res cameras and will launch in the second half of this year.
Resulting images will be stitched together using technology devised by Kolor (a virtual reality software company acquired by GoPro in April) and rendered into a 360-degree, 6K image.
The resulting images and videos can be fully enjoyed using Oculus, Google Cardboard or Microsoft HoloLens. They will also be viewable on the Kolor app or YouTube 360.
The Spherical Array won’t be aimed at the average consumer — it won’t have general commercial appeal, but will likely be picked up by current GoPro devotees and prosumers. As Woodman sees it, VR needs a simpler and more affordable approach before it can reach the masses in any meaningful way.
Woodman does, however, acknowledge that the time is ripe for VR development. Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus was one of the instigating forces behind this latest GoPro initiative.
Also announced by the CEO was GoPro’s first quadcopter (drone). While no pricing or design information is available as yet, the drone will be available in the first half of 2016.
Virtual reality image, via Shutterstock